‘Last chance’ community energy scheme launches in PM’s constituency

  • SCE members

    Supporters of SCE recently donned their wellies to help deliver the site's biodiversity brief. Image: SCE

Southill Community Energy (SCE) has launched what it claims will be one of the last community energy share offers following changes to government support for solar energy.

Southill Solar will be a 4.5MW community-owned solar farm near Charlbury in the heart of David Cameron’s constituency. SCE is aiming to raise £3 million for the project, which received planning consent in July 2015 and was reportedly one of the last community solar schemes to be pre-accredited to the higher rate of feed-in tariff.

Tim Crisp, director of SCE, said: “This project has been led by the community from the start, and we’ve had to negotiate some tricky obstacles on the way, both during planning and with government changes to support for solar farms and community shares.

“We hope that Southill Solar will be a beacon of excellence on David Cameron’s doorstep, demonstrating the positive power of community energy. It’s energy democracy in action!”

The share offer, which is now open until 8 April unless completed early, aims to generate an annual return for investors of 5% over the 25-year lifetime of the solar farm. SCE will also return around £750,000 over the solar farm’s lifetime to the local community to support schemes tackling fuel poverty, improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.

This will include a project to refurbish the Charlbury Corner House, a Grade II-listed building which is a civic hub for the town, transforming it into an exemplar for energy efficiency.

Liz Reason, director at SCE, 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.”

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