Structure and PlanningCommunities have a number of options when setting up a project, however some form of legal structure will be required to access grants and loans. Possible structures include:
Industrial Provident Society (IPS) these can raise funding through the sale of community shares.
Community Interest Company (CIS) these cannot be set up for the benefit of an individual or group, cannot sell shares, are limited in the amount they can pay out in dividends and are regulated by the CIS Regulator
A Charity is run by trustees and is supported by donations, and as such is exempt from paying tax
A Joint Venture – can involve a community group and a private company or group of companies which can provide expertise, business skills and capital
As well as a legal structure most renewable energy installations will require planning permission. In most cases where the energy generated is below 50MW, permission will be granted by your local district planning authority (except in the case of anaerobic digestion where the feedstock derives from waste products, where planning permission is granted by the County Council as planning authority)
Some technologies will require further permits and assessments before development can proceed. In the case of wind turbines clearance from the MoD and the Civil Aviation Authority will be required as well as an environmental assessment. Hydroelectric projects require a permit from the Environment Agency and will also need to undertake and environmental assessment.