Westmill solar farm, located just outside Swindon, is set to become the UK’s first community-owned solar park. The 5MW site has been operating since July last year and is home to more than 20,000 solar modules, producing 4.4GWh of electricity per year.
The community scheme is designed to raise £4million equity with potential investors able to buy-in to the project with a minimum investment of £250 and a maximum of £20,000.
The project hopes to emulate successful community ownership models employed across Europe. In Denmark, nearly a quarter of all renewable energy power is community owned. However, the wider aim of the project is to allow any individual or organisation direct access to engage with renewable energy generation at a local level.
The project is led by Adam Twine, an organic farmer and green entrepreneur, who has embraced environmentally-friendly farming techniques and actively engaged in renewable energy generation. Westmill Solar Park will share its site with the already established Westmill Wind Farm, a community-owned site which raised £4.3 million in 2007 and has more than 2,000 members.
Those interested in the cooperative can register their interest here.