People at its heart

Southill Community Energy is a ‘community benefit society’. It is run by a community of members, and aims to encourage, inspire and empower local people and organisations to reduce their carbon emissions. 


Investing in sustainability

SCE developed and operates Southill Solar, which has been generating green electricity since November 2016. Community funding comes from surpluses generated by our solar farm, after we pay operating costs and pay interest to our members.

Forecasts show that we will have on average £30,000 a year to invest locally. That’s around £750,000 over the life of the project.

Through a programme of grants, we use these funds to invest to support local low-carbon initiatives in the community. Read more about our impact.

Meet the team

Chris Barras

Chris qualified as a solicitor in 1991 and worked in private practice for several years before taking up a position as an in-house solicitor with a large electricity utility company (now known as Innogy). For 12 years now he’s been head of Innogy Renewables’ UK legal team, where his work has focused on developing onshore and offshore wind farms and hydroelectric projects. Having lived in Charlbury for over 20 years, Chris is enthusiastic about combining his professional experience of renewables and community funding in his own community.

Liz Reason

Liz was one of the founding directors of Sustainable Charlbury in 2006 and an active, early advocate of Southill Solar. She has worked in energy consultancy and sustainability for most of her career, including as a founder-director of ILEX Energy Consulting Ltd, one of Europe’s leading energy markets specialists. Liz has a passion for low-carbon initiatives and has experience across the sector from wind power to delivering low-energy buildings. She’s currently Chair of the Green Party Executive.

Richard Slark

Richard is an energy markets consultant who advises renewable generators on policy, regulatory and price risks in electricity markets around the world. Richard is a director of Pöyry Management Consulting’s energy practice, where he has led the renewables team for over ten years. Based in Oxford, Richard currently divides his time between advising on the operation, financing and valuation of specific renewable projects and on the broader strategic opportunities for developers and investors in energy markets.  

Tim Crisp

Tim worked for over 25 years working in marketing and advertising and has been a central figure in community fundraising initiatives. Tim is also a qualified mediator and versatile facilitator, with a collaborative approach that focuses on stakeholder engagement. As a director of Sustainable Charlbury he has helped lead on the proposed 4.5MW community energy scheme, Southill Solar. He brought this experience to Low Carbon Hub in Oxford to develop some of the largest community renewable energy projects in the UK with local businesses that deliver benefits to local communities.

Tom Johnstone

Tom is a CIMA-qualified accountant with 35 years experience working in industry in various different sectors. Over that time he has been able to gain a wide range of accountancy experience from day-to-day running of business, acquisitions and disposals, financing and refinancing of business. Though not having any direct work experience in renewable energy, Tom’s personal interest in solar energy led him to became an investor in Southill Community Energy and to join the board of directors in September 2016, transferring the skills he gained in the commercial world to the renewable energy sector.

Structure and regulation

As a community benefit society, Southill Community Energy is governed by a set of rules that specify:

  • what we can do in business;

  • how we should be run;

  • that we operate for the benefit of the community, not the members.

We registered with the Financial Conduct Authority under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Society act 2014 on 16 November 2015 (Registered Society no. 7242).

Surplus funds generated by our solar farm goes into a community fund which other community groups in Charlbury and the surrounding area can apply to use for low-carbon projects.

Read more about community benefit societies.

Reports and accounts

As part of our commitment to transparency, SCE publishes the annual report from the directors at the AGM, as well as our audited accounts.

2019 AGM

The AGM was held on 7 Feb 2019 in the Memorial Hall in Charlbury.

2018 AGM

The AGM was held on 22 Feb 2018 in the Memorial Hall in Charlbury.