Renewed growth for energy co-op


Finance from us has allowed a renewable energy installer to take on bigger contracts, ensuring growth and sustainability for the business.

R-ECO is a workers’ co-operative with branches in Cornwall, Bristol and Oxford, which designs and installs bespoke renewable energy systems for domestic, commercial and community clients. The co-op was founded in 2008 with the aim of bringing a co-operative approach to the renewables market.

The co-op has recently secured several large commercial contracts. The loan will act as working capital, allowing them to purchase the equipment, materials and labour needed.

Tim Nicholson from R-ECO said:

Commercial projects can be challenging for companies like ours, because we don’t have a lot of capital; we approached The Co-operative Loan Fund to see if they could help. The loan facility has allowed us to take on a variety of larger contracts. It’s very positive for our business that we are able undertake a diverse range of work.

At the end of 2011, the government announced that energy feed in tariffs would halve. This news severely disrupted the renewable energy market, and heralded a significant drop in business for R-ECO. The co-op diversified into other areas of renewable energy to compensate – including installation of heat pumps, solar thermal and biomass boilers – although solar PV remains their core business.

Recently, the equipment and modules required for solar panel installation have become cheaper and the market has improved as a result. In particular, solar farm investments and interest from residential clients has increased. The members of R-ECO have continued to expand and develop their services.

Loan adviser Ian Rothwell commented: “It’s great to be able to support a co-op that has contributed so much to the renewable energy sector over the last few years – co-ops have always been a champion of renewable energy. R-ECO have overcome challenges caused by the reduction of solar feed in tariff (in 2011), and are winning bigger and bigger contracts.”

Find out more about R-Eco: