Leapfrog Finance funds first Council-supply solar farm, creating community benefit funds


Gridserve and Warrington Borough Council (WBC) have today announced that they have completed the funding of a landmark solar deal which will make Warrington the first local authority to produce all its own electricity from clean energy. 

Leapfrog Finance is proud to be providing £11m finance to this initiative which will save the Council millions each year in energy costs that can be re-invested in providing local services.

Leapfrog Finance’s Project Finance Transaction Manager, Matt Andrews, noted, “Leapfrog’s involvement in this project has converted what would otherwise be a commercial deal into social impact investment”.

Claire Hanratty, Leapfrog Finance’s CEO, stated that it is the impact of this reinvestment of savings in community services alongside the creation of a community benefit fund worth £2.25m which will help to address social outcomes like fuel poverty in the local area is what excited her team about this deal. Gridserve is also contributing £100,000 to the fund.

Ms Hanratty said, “The openness of the Council and Gridserve to investing surpluses into this fund is another landmark element of this deal and one all the parties should be justifiably proud of”.

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About Leapfrog Finance

Leapfrog Finance is the wholly-owned trading subsidiary of Pure Leapfrog. It was established in 2015 to provide finance to communities wishing to acquire, install and build renewable energy with a £15m facility provided by Big Society Capital. It has made loans of £25m since 2015, enabling communities in four deprived areas of the UK to own and benefit from renewable energy. Most importantly, these loans have enabled communities to secure £10m of community benefit funds that will flow from the surpluses generated by these sites which can be applied to improving social outcomes in the local area. To find out more, please visit www.pureleapfrog.org

About Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital improves the lives of people in the UK by connecting social investment to charities and social enterprises. We know that investment can help charities and social enterprises achieve more. We believe the greatest chance to improve lives comes when investors and enterprises are both motivated by social mission.

We engage with investors, fund managers, charities and social enterprises to make it easier to use social investment. With our co-investors, we have made over £1.3 billion of new capital available to organisations with a social mission, through investments into fund managers and social banks. We have a special focus on: providing homes for people in need; strengthening communities; and early action to prevent problems.