James Cropper PLC, a prestigious coloured and technical paper manufacturer, operates from a large site in Burneside, Kendal, which has been the company’s home since 1845. 

In 2015, the company provided roof space for the installation of a 250KW solar PV array and signed a power purchase agreement to buy all electricity generated by the scheme over a 20-year period.

The solar installation is managed by Burneside Community Energy (BCE), which invests profits from the scheme within the local community.

A second rooftop solar installation was installed in 2019, nearly tripling onsite solar generation. Later phases are currently being considered.

Locality: Kendal

Asset Owner: James Cropper plc

CEG: Burneside Community Energy

Electricity Generated /Saved: 550MWh per year

Tech Used: Solar Photovoltaic Panels

“The partnership was not only a huge positive for all concerned but entirely logical. The company needs as much carbon-free electricity as it can get, but would have struggled to find the necessary capital alongside so many other demands put on the business.

“Community energy solved the issue and the fact that the project also delivers monetary and other benefits to the local community made it a very obvious choice. A long term commitment is required from all sides but we’re happy to take a long term view.”

– Mark Cropper, Chairman, James Cropper PLC.

Benefits to Asset Owner

  • Benefit 1: Significant reduction in carbon emissions associated with power demand
  • Benefit 2: Reduction in energy bills versus imported electricity
  • Benefit 3: Visible contribution to a community benefit enterprise and local projects




Benefits to Community Energy Group

  • Benefit 1: Reduction in carbon emissions
  • Benefit 2: Contribution to a community fund supporting local projects
  • Benefit 3: Attractive investment opportunity for members of local community

How it was Funded

In 2015, Burneside Community Energy successfully raised £500K from local shareholders to install 250kW of solar PV on the roof of the mill. Running above expectations and as a community benefit society, to date the organisation has earmarked £5,000 for local projects.

In November 2018 the organisation ran their second share issue raising a further £330K, which was used alongside reserves to fund the additional PV.

The combined scheme is expected to generate annual interest of over 4.5%, plus a community benefit fund contribution of £6,000 per year.