At our last AGM we asked members to consider whether or not they will want to withdraw their investment after 15 years, an offer that was set out in our Invitation to Invest.
The Directors asked this question as the Society needs to plan for its continuation if that is the wish of a sufficient number of members, whilst also planning the retention of funds for those that wish to withdraw funds as initially offered.
Of our members, approximately one third potentially wish to withdraw their investment and two thirds currently plan to retain their investment. The directors now plan to invest in more renewable energy systems to earn a sustainable income into the future and create a savings pot, albeit a smaller one than originally planned.
The offer to members to withdraw their investment would be a one-off event, as shares in Sustainable Hockerton are transferable rather than withdrawable. It will be limited in proportion to the interest in withdrawing investment reported by members at the 2015 AGM.
This means the Society continues to trade into the future creating sustainable energy past the end of the wind turbine’s life. The future is of course very uncertain, especially in the energy sector, but it was felt that trying to make the Society’s activities last for the longer term closely matched the ideals of members. Any income and hence ability to pay interest will be closely related to the value of electricity sold at that time. This value may be reduced due to falling Feed in Tariff payments and/or electricity prices, a possibility that was put to members when we asked their intentions.
Stimulated by this feedback from members the Directors decided to invest some of our reserves into solar PV on the roofs of local businesses prior to the last significant reduction in the feed-in tariff.