Step 15 – Repay other funds
Any debt that is due for repayment should be paid back (with interest) at this point. The CARES pre-planning loan and CARES post consent loan (where applicable) are set up to be repaid at Financial Close. The debt provided by the funders should include provision for this repayment.
Step 16 – Construction
Once all of the permits and permissions are in place and all relevant planning constraints have been addressed, construction can commence and the wind turbine(s) installed and grid connected. The construction module outlines the community group’s obligations as a developer, the construction process and the additional roles in the construction process. The module addresses the community group’s duty of care as a developer for the site workers, environment and general public, additionally covering basic legal responsibilities with additional links to guidance and regulatory documents.
Step 17 – Community benefit
CARES clients providing or receiving community benefit should enter into a binding agreement with the appropriate party, stating the terms and conditions of payments. CARES have template agreements to facilitate this, which also confirm the process for indexing payments over 20 years.
Step 18 – Operation
The income from the project will need to be managed carefully. The funder may expect there to be cash held to cover fixed costs such as interest and loan repayments, O&M contracts and land rent. Only after these costs have been met can the project distribute the remaining income.
Proper management will need to be in place for the life of the project to oversee the process of collecting and distributing income and managing liabilities. It is also important that the performance of the solar PV panels are regularly monitored as large fluctuations or low output might indicate a technical problem and this in turn will reduce income, leading to reduced financial returns.
The planning consent will state the date and requirements for decommissioning the solar PV panels. The costs for removing the panels, the requirements to remove mounting frames and money to cover the cost of any roof damage during the process need to be estimated.
The establishing a community group module provides further guidance on dispersing any income generated for the community group.
Step 19 – Decommissioning
When solar PV panels are no longer needed for generation they should be removed as soon as reasonably practical. This condition must be observed for permitted developments and will likely be a condition for projects that require planning permission.