Choosing a structure & registering your organisation

Before looking into registration, it is important to consider if you need to become a legal entity to carry out your community energy project. Depending on what project and activities you wish to pursue and the funding you need to bring in, you may not always need to become a legal organisation or entity.

  • Our Getting Started Guide (download below) and
  • Community Energy London’s 10 Steps Guide, has more information to help you decide this. 
  • Humshaugh Net Zero CIC have created a useful map of the process they followed when deciding what structure they would need when they formed. They have also outlined some useful pros and cons of different organisational structures, see here for their useful guide.

If you do decide registering as a legal entity is the pathway for you, then there are a number of options for you to consider and places to seek advice on steps needed.

Further resources for registeration and support services to help are here

  • Plunkett Foundation - guide to legal structures for community-owned businesses (download below). Model CBS rules also avaliable
  • Co-operatives UK - guide to legal forms and organisational types (download below, p23-31) 
  • Co-operatives UK (The Hive) - email for bespoke registration support. Costed service, funding required.
  • Wrigleys Solicitors - email for bespoke registration support. Costed service, funding required.

A final note on common legal set ups

Most community energy organisations are community benefit societies (CBS) or community interest companies (CIC). Some are also Co-operatives, but in 2014 the FCA started taking a different approach and no longer accepts applications for new energy co-operatives. CEE is a company limited by guarantee.

Documents & Downloads