Isle of Wight community group seeking solar investment

A community group on the Isle of Wight is looking to secure investment to purchase what would become the island’s first community energy solar farm.

Wight Community Energy is hoping to raise £800,000 through a crowdfunding share offer to top up the £4.58 million of investment it has already raised. Those investing through the scheme will be given 7% returns per annum.

The group is hoping to purchase a 3.95MW array constructed by energy developer Anesco. Community energy group Mongoose Energy would operate the farm in partnership with Wight Community Energy.

The site was commissioned on 18 December and is eligible to receive feed-in tariff payments of 6.16p/kWh.

After loan repayments and shareholder dividends, any surplus profits from the array’s generation will be paid into a community benefit fund. As much as £2.4 million will be invested into various initiatives on the Isle of Wight, which will be selected by its shareholders.

Initiatives established to tackle fuel poverty are expected to be major beneficiaries of the fund and Colin Palmer, chair of Wight Community Energy, said the issue had become a “big problem for the island”.

“This must change and community energy, which keeps the money in the community, can play a big part here,” he said.