A solar mini grid has been successfully installed and connected in the remote rural village of Neelakantarayanagaddi in Karnataka, India. The 1.2 kWp system has provided a light and mobile charging to 44 households, who live on an island in the Krishna river. The installation was carried out by SELCO India, an award-winning social enterprise based in Bangalore. The community is paying for the ongoing maintenance on the site, using their budget that they previously used on kerosene lamps which are both polluting and bad for health.
A solar mini grid has been constructed in the remote forest area of Mendare, where 22 households live on very low incomes. Access to reliable energy will make a significant improvement to the quality of life, reducing their dependency on kerosene and switching on the possibility to study and work in the evenings. The community are contributing to the maintenance and battery replacement for the system.
Robin Chamberlayne is a chartered financial planner and has over 20 years experience in the financial services industry. He formed Progressive Strategic Solutions in 1997, which was one of the first chartered firms in the UK. Progressive provides financial advice and tax planning strategies to high net worth individuals and businesses. Robin sits on the board of the Proven Planned Exit VCT and Downing Structured Opportunities VCT 1 plc, and the Downing Planned Exit VCT 2011 plc, which has a focus on Low Carbon feed-in tariff based investments within their investment mandate. Robin has been actively involved in renewable energy for a number of years; his family’s farm operates both commercial biomass and solar installations to meet the heat and power requirements for a large rural business centre.
Dr Steve Mahon was a co-founder of Armstrong and has had a successful career in commercialising low carbon technologies with over 15 years in the sector and a track record in selecting and managing high growth low carbon companies, both in the private and public markets. He combines a detailed understanding across a wide range of clean technologies with the first hand experience of growing early stage businesses and delivering shareholder returns having been involved in the investment or management of over 25 businesses.
Prior to establishing Armstrong, Steve co-founded Low Carbon Investors Limited (“LCI”), a Guernsey based fund management company which advised Low Carbon Accelerator Limited, the AIM listed early-stage technology fund. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Low Carbon Investors (UK) Limited (“LCIUK”) established with Downing LLP (“Downing”), the UK’s first dedicated feed-in-tariff fund, the Downing Low Carbon EIS and went on to advise Downing on the investment of more than £45m in feed-in-tariff projects in solar and wind assets.
Before establishing LCI, Steve had been a main Board member of Pursuit Dynamics plc, during which time it was the top performing small cap engineering stock on AIM; and of Sentec Ltd, the smart grid technology specialist, that became one of the fastest growing technology companies in Europe. Steve started his career in Qinetiq and managed a business unit commercialising advanced materials. He has a first class degree and PhD in Geophysics and Planetary Physics.
Gordon McKechnie worked in investment banking for 25 years, mainly in the fields of project and energy finance, before joining Deloitte as a Corporate Finance Partner in 1999. He subsequently worked for HM Treasury. He edited the Euromoney publication “Energy Finance” (1983).
Gordon is Chair of the OECD’s Public-Private Partnership Group, non-executive director of the Department for Education’s Priority Schools Building Programme board, a member of the Treasury’s Major Project Review Group and of the Expert Advisory Panel to the UK Airports Commission as well as a member of the International Board Committee of the relief and development agency, Tearfund.
Andrew Newman was a co-founder of Armstrong Energy. He had previously worked for Low Carbon Investors (UK) Limited (“LCIUK”) as group finance director. Whilst at LCIUK he managed the design and launch of the UK’s first dedicated feed-in-tariff fund, the Downing Low Carbon EIS, with Downing LLP.
Andrew joined Low Carbon Investors (UK) Limited from Deloitte Corporate Finance in 2006, where he had worked in the Project Finance Advisory team, focusing on energy and transport infrastructure projects in the UK and Europe.
Prior to joining Deloitte in 2003, Andrew worked for Triodos Bank in the Netherlands. While at Triodos, Andrew worked as Senior Investment Officer for Asia for the Solar Development Group, one of the funds co-managed by Triodos. The Solar Development Group was an initiative of the World Bank and was set up to accelerate rural electrification in developing countries.
Prior to joining Triodos Bank, Andrew worked for Deloitte & Touche, initially in its London audit department, where he qualified as an ACA, and subsequently in its Central European Corporate Finance team, based in Prague. While in Prague, Andrew focused on advisory and due diligence projects, and worked on several of the largest inward investment projects in the region.
Andrew has a first class degree from Oxford University.
Jonathan Selwyn is the Chairman of the Solar Trade Association, the UK’s leading solar industry voice. He is also a Director of Solar Consulting Ltd, an international business providing specialist advisory, consultancy and policy support services to the renewable energy industry, with a focus on commercial and utility-scale solar PV.
Jonathan’s previous role was Managing Director of Lark Energy, part of the privately-owned Larkfleet Group, a housing and construction group based in Lincolnshire. Lark Energy develops, constructs and operates utility scale solar farms and commercial PV projects. Since being appointed founding Managing Director in 2010, Jonathan established Lark Energy as one of the UK’s market leaders, achieving planning consent for 280MWp of solar farm projects by 2014.
In 2013, the company completed what was then the largest solar farm in the UK (33MWp) at Wymeswold, a former World War II airfield near Loughborough. This was awarded ‘Most Successful Large-scale Ground Mount Solar Site’ at the inaugural Solar Power Portal Awards in 2013. In 2014, it won the award for a second time for its innovative project at Ketton Cement Works, developed in partnership with Armstrong Energy.
Jonathan is also a Director of Green Ventures, an environmental consultancy, and a governor at his local state secondary school. He is a regular speaker at national and international solar conferences and seminars.
Jonathan was previously Chief Executive of the UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development, a national organisation focusing on supporting the environmental technology and renewable energy sectors.
Nigel qualified as a lawyer in 1974 and joined Linnel & Murphy Oxford (later Linnels), becoming a partner of the firm in 1976. He co-founded Brook Street des Roches LLP in 1994 and was Senior and Managing Partner until shortly before retirement in 2010. The firm specialised in commercial property and grew to some 16 partners.
Nigel holds several Trustee appointments and Directorships. Outside interests include rugby and triathlons and more recently cycling and skiing. He lives in Burford, Oxfordshire and is married with five grandchildren.