34.7MWp solar farm at York developed by Gridserve for Warrington Borough Council in 2019. Image: Warrington Borough Council.

Warrington Borough Council is launching a green investment scheme, which will allow local residents to help fund a new solar farm.

It is looking to raise a million pounds to develop a solar farm in Circencester, and will utilise Community Municipal Investment (CMI) rounds to reach this goal.

The solar farm has been in the works since 2018, and will form part of the council's Green Energy Strategy by generating renewable energy to power the council's needs, with any surplus sold on. Warrington Borough Council is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030, and intends to collaborate with local residents to develop a green agenda to achieve this goal.

Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said the CMI will be a “really innovative way” of engaging people.

“It’s about engendering partnership working, building trust with communities and empowering them to play a part in creating a greener and more prosperous future.”

The local authority will issue CMI bonds directly to the public via an internet-based crowdfunding platform, allowing them to support the project and benefit from a long term, low risk return as they will receive a percentage return on the capital for the investment.

The first CMI is set for the 25 August, and the scheme is being administered by Abundance, an FCA regulated investment platform.

Abundance Investment joint managing director, Bruce Davis, said that Warrington was showing other councils the way with a “really innovative climate change strategy”.

“Abundance is excited to be working with them to launch their first community municipal investment which will allow local people to invest from as little as £5 and put their money to work for them and to help achieve Warrington’s green ambitions.”

Ensuring a secure energy supply through owning and controlling generating assets such as solar forms a key tenant of Warrington Borough Council's Green Energy Strategy. Already it has installed solar PV at 3,000 Golden Gates – a local housing trust – properties, delivered a large scale solar roof scheme on the OMEGA development site and acquired solar farms in York – a 34.7MWp solar farm developed by Gridserve – and Hull.