Local residents of the will be given preference to buy shares in the Co-op for as little as £25. Image: Eden Renewables.

Eden Renewables has submitted a planning application to Wiltshire council for a 40MW alternating current (AC) solar farm east of Kington St. Michael, Wiltshire.

The Wiltshire-based solar developer has proposed that up to 20% of Red Barn solar farm will be owned and operated by a Cooperative established by Ripple Energy – the first renewable site to do so in Wiltshire.

The site is hoped to accelerate Wiltshire – which currently only has 6% of its electricity generated from renewables – towards its 2030 net zero target.

In a similar fashion to Ripple Energy’s other co-ownership projects, local residents of the site will be given preference to buy shares in the Co-op for a minimum of £25 to be in line to save an estimated 25% on their electricity bills (proportionate to their shareholding).

Ripple Energy’s first co-owned renewable site was a single wind turbine in South Wales called Graig Fatha. According to Ripple Energy the 905 site co-owners have already experienced significant savings with one London-based co-owner reporting an electricity bill of only £1.50 in November 2022.

Since then the company has grown its portfolio, with its third confirmed project being a solar farm in England.

“We’re excited to be bringing our consumer ownership energy model to Wiltshire and couldn’t have a better partner than Eden Renewables,” said Sarah Merrick, CEO and founder of Ripple Energy.

“The community has already been involved in the design of Red Barn solar farm so it makes sense that they should have the chance to own a share of it too. People are concerned about their energy bills going up more as well as climate change and this is a really simple way for them to tackle both issues.”

The land proposed for the site is lower grade agricultural land – mainly ALC Grade 4 – and will prioritise continued agricultural use, including sheep grazing and intermittent cattle grazing.

The solar farm also includes a £24,000 per year community and educational benefit fund, which will rise with inflation over the site’s 40-year lifetime.