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Change can be good; and the energy market in the UK is changing for the better. Electricity generation from renewable resources, particularly solar power, shot up 29% in 2015, meaning it provided 1 in every 4 units used. As always, with change comes opportunity and individuals and communities up and down the country are getting involved in this energy revolution, both lending their support and gaining the benefits.

In response, we’re launching a unique community-based ethical investment initiative – M&S Energy Society, designed to put power back in the community pocket. We’ve partnered with Energy4All and the Society is looking to raise capital to install, own and operate up to 891kWh worth of solar panels on the roofs of M&S retail stores for 20 years from 2016.

Everybody has the chance to be involved. All investors into the fund become Members of the Society and receive a return on their investment targeted at 5%. To make this opportunity as inclusive as possible, smaller investments are especially welcome at the Society, with applications invited from £100. 

100% of the renewable electricity generated by the panels will be procured by M&S and used in-store. Providing a real win-win, the on-store solar will simultaneously generate renewable energy, reduce demand for grid electricity and cut CO2 emissions.

As well as being good for both the country and the climate, the investment will be great for the community. After paying Members interest and returning their capital, 100% of Society profits will be distributed via a dedicated Community Benefit Fund to help support local energy related projects. Local charities and initiatives benefiting from the Fund will be decided by its Members. Successful projects could range from insulation improvements for community buildings, to helping local residents cut their fuel consumption and save money.

It also helps deliver against our Plan A targets for green energy – with 50% of electricity used in UK buildings to come from small-scale renewables by 2020 – as well as commitments to making a measurable difference in the communities we serve. 

With the predicted reductions in price and advances in efficiency, weight and application of solar technology, we believe that the future is really positive for these kinds of initiatives. We are really excited about the M&S Energy Society and urge anyone interested to visit the website and find out more.

Full terms and conditions of the offer are available at www.mandsenergysociety.com

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