A NEW co-op dedicated to providing renewable power sources in the Malvern area is offering people the chance to invest in ethical energy.

The Malvern Energy Generation Co-op (MCEC) has been set up by Transition Malvern Hills and its first project is to provide solar panels for the Malvern Cube community centre in Albert Road North.

And the co-op is hosting a meeting for potential shareholders on Monday, March 10, at the Cube, starting at 8pm, for people who want to get more involved.

Robin Coates of Transition Malvern Hills said: "Local community energy co-operatives are a valuable way forward in reducing our reliance on damaging fossil fuel energy sources. There are examples in the UK and a very large number in the rest of Europe."

Among local examples are a co-op in Leominster to put solar panels on the leisure centre, and another in Woolhope to supply biomass boilers.

He said: "We have chosen the Cube as our first building because of the social value we can create by reducing the Cube’s electricity bills, as well as being capable of delivering a modest return to MCEC’s members/community subscribers.

"The minimum shareholding is £250. We are still finalising the sums but we expect the average annual rate of return to be in the region of three per cent for non-taxpayers and more than twice that for taxpayers. "

The co-op, which has ten volunteer members, has already secured planning permission to install the panels on the roof of the Cube.

Anyone who wants to find out more should contact malverncommunityenergy.org.