23 June 2016

Energy sector experts from independent UK law firm Burges Salmon have advised M&S on new community energy scheme M&S Energy Society.

M&S Energy Society, a joint collaboration between M&S and community energy organisation Energy4All, is a new initiative that is designed to generate renewable electricity from solar panels installed on M&S stores across the UK.

The Society is inviting Members to invest between £100 and £100,000 in solar panels, which will be installed on up to nine M&S stores. M&S will buy the energy generated to power its stores. The Society is targeting an interest rate of 5 per cent each year for its Members.

As well as providing an alternative investment opportunity for ethically conscious customers, each installation will result in a reduction of CO2 emissions released by the M&S stores.  The initiative will also help to fulfil M&S’s green energy commitment; to ensure that 50 per cent of electricity used in its UK and ROI building operations comes from small-scale renewable sources by 2020.

The Burges Salmon team, led by Energy sector partner Nick Churchward with assistance from a cross firm team including energy sector solicitors Stephen Lavington and Dan Ballard, worked closely with M&S on preparing documentation at all levels of the project. This included individual rooftop lease arrangements and construction documents through to the private wire power purchase agreement for the project as a whole, as well as advising M&S on the associated share offer, and the structuring and governance of the community benefit society delivering the projects.

Nick Churchward said: “Having previously advised long-standing client M&S on a number of exciting energy projects, we are really pleased to work with the team on this community funded renewable energy project, which is a first for any UK major retailer and demonstrates M&S's genuine commitment to its Plan A sustainability objectives.”

In September 2014, Burges Salmon's award-winning Energy team advised M&S in relation to its sector-leading use of biomethane, becoming the first retailer in the UK to purchase Biomethane Gas Certificates. In November 2014, the team advised M&S on its 6MW rooftop solar panel array, the UK's largest rooftop installation, on its state-of-the-art distribution centre at Castle Donington.

Key contact

Nick Churchward

Nick Churchward Partner

  • Head of Resource and Waste Management
  • Projects
  • Energy and Utilities

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