Solarcentury is to construct a community-owned 4.5MWp solar farm near Charlbury in David Cameron’s Oxfordshire constituency. The solar farm, owned by Southill Community Energy (SCE), will generate enough electricity for around 1,100 typical homes – equivalent to most of the houses in the three closest settlements of Charlbury, Finstock and Fawler.
An ecological plan has been created for the site, with support from leading ecologist Dr Guy Parker, which will ensure the solar farm also becomes a haven for local wildlife. The plan includes initiatives such as sowing wildflower seeds, planting a new orchard and building new Cotswold stone walls. SCE is committed to making this a species rich site; with local SCE supporters recently helping out on a ‘Bring Your Wellies’ day planting fruit trees and new hedgerows.
Frans van den Heuvel, CEO at Solarcentury said, “This is the third community-level solar farm Solarcentury has been selected to build in the UK; being involved in these projects is particularly important for us because it aligns with our mission to make solar accessible for all. These solar farms, conceived and brought to fruition by forward-thinking, energetic local people, demonstrate the critical role local communities around the UK can play in helping the country to transition to cleaner energy sources, as the global energy transition unfolds.”
The community share offer for investment in Southill Solar has just launched and runs until April 8th but may close early if the fundraising target is met before then. While the investment is open to anyone over 16, investors living close to the solar farm will get priority if it is oversubscribed.
Liz Reason, Director, Southill Community Energy, said: “This will be one of the last chances to invest in a community solar farm following recent changes in government policy towards renewables. Investing in Southill Community Energy is a triple bottom line investment: good for the environment, good for the community, and good financial sense.”
SCE, a community benefit society, is offering investors the opportunity to buy shares in the community solar farm on the Cornbury Park estate, just outside Charlbury. They are aiming to raise £3 million to build the solar farm, which was granted planning consent in July 2015. It has been pre-accredited for the Feed-in Tariff and will be one of the last community solar schemes to be guaranteed the subsidy.
More information about the project can be found at www.southillcommunityenergy.co.uk.
Last year, Solarcentury constructed a community-owned solar farm for Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy. In June 2014, Solarcentury connected a community-owned solar farm for West Solent Solar Cooperative, in Hampshire.