Financing Community Energy: lessons learned and innovations for the future

This project is led by Tyndall Manchester, working with the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester, and with the University of Strathclyde and Imperial College London.

It has two main aims:

  1. to provide the first systematic quantitative and qualitative analysis of the role of finance in the evolution of the UK community energy sector.
  2. to develop recommendations for innovative policies, business models and finance mechanisms that will support future growth of the sector.

In light of this, the academic researchers will be working closely with stakeholder organisations across the UK from the outset, to advise on the research, and co-develop the recommendations from the analysis.

Shared with permission, Kelsale-cum-Carlton Community Energy (P4KcC)

The researchers will:

  • review existing datasets and literature on community energy in the UK and internationally, to map the co-evolution of government policy, finance, and community energy business models, and to assess the availability of data on finance and business models for the UK sector;
  • conduct an extensive survey of the sector to fill the identified data gaps, to develop a UK wide database on community energy finance and business models;
  • develop an econometric analysis of the determinants of the financial performance of community energy projects, and also produce a taxonomy of financing mechanisms and business models in the sector using cluster analysis;
  • undertake in-depth community energy case studies to explore further the relationship between different business models and finance mechanisms;
  • identify the types and combinations of innovations in business models and financial mechanisms that could enable community energy to flourish in the future;
  • work with stakeholders to co-develop and disseminate policy and business strategy recommendations to support growth of the sector.

Further Information
Please see the Tyndall Manchester project page.

To submit data to our survey of community energy groups
Please visit

January 2017 – March 2019

UK Energy Research Centre

Dr Carly McLachlan, University of Manchester
Dr Sarah Mander, University of Manchester
Dr Maria Sharmina, University of Manchester
Dr Ed Manderson, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester
Dr Matt Hannon, University of Strathclyde
Dr Jeff Hardy, Imperial College
Dr Tim Braunholtz-Speight, University of Manchester

Lisa Bell, University of Manchester


Main image: Abergwaun Community Turbine, Tim Braunholtz-Speight - reproduced with permission.

Research areas