Across England and Wales, six community solar farms have generated £60,000 of surplus profit that will be used to support their local communities.
The farms have been supported by Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) Partners – a social investment partnership between Big Society Capital and charitable trust Power to Change – and profits generated by the sites have been pooled into an annual benefit fund managed by the group.
Now CORE, together with its advisors Finance Earth, is set release this funding, in what is the second batch of such funding following a similar release in 2020. The £60,000 brings the total amount of funding over the last two years to over £255,000.
“We set up CORE because we could see the critical role of community-led energy in ensuring a just transition to net zero emissions,” said Joe Shamash, investment director at Big Society Capital. “CORE’s ability to generate funding for local initiatives throughout the pandemic also shows its value for supporting community resilience – even in the most challenging of circumstances.”
Yealm Community Energy’s 5MW solar farm is receiving £10,000 of the funding; combined 7.3MW solar farm Creacombe is receiving £2,400; Shropshire and Telford Community Energy’s 10MW farm is receiving £20,000; Brynwhilach 5MW solar farm is receiving £10,000 – which Gower Power will lever to match funds and continue development of its local energy supply partnership with Ecotricity –; Wight Community Energy’s 3.9MW solar farm is receiving £8,000 and Kent Community Energy’s 5MW farm is receiving £10,000.
Overall, CORE has invested in nine solar farms with a capacity of c.40MW collectively. It is aiming to transfer these to full community ownership by 2022 to maximise financial, environmental and social impact for local communities.
It is planning to launch the first investment offers for the community solar farms later this year.