The UK’s largest community-owned solar-farm in Warwickshire has secured long-term finance.
Triodos Bank UK has provided loans of £12m and Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) has provided £4m to the UK’s largest community solar farm.
With reduced loan repayments it means that more money generated by the solar farm can be used to support community projects.
The solar farm has the capacity to generate around 14.7MW of electricity, this is enough to power around 4,500 homes, it is also located with 3MW batteries which means that the site is used both to generate solar energy and also to provide battery storage services to the grid.
The project is managed by Communities for Renewables (CfR), who provide company and asset management services to various community solar projects across the UK.
Heart of England Community Energy, a community interest company uses the profits from the solar farm to support a fuel poverty advice service that is run by the charity Act on Energy and the profits are also used to provide a community grant fund.
The community grant fund has so far provided funding to various charities such as Harbury e-Wheels, a Warwickshire-based community transport charity, and SolarAid, a charity working in Africa to provide solar lights.
Jake Burnyeat, director at CfR said: ‘CfR and the Heart of England Community Energy board are very pleased to have reached this milestone.’
‘The funding from Triodos Bank and Social and Sustainable Capital provide a long-term lower cost finance solution which will help to increase surplus income generated by the community solar farm to support local projects.’
Philip Bazin, environment team manager at Triodos Bank UK said: ‘This transaction proves that community energy schemes can be delivered and financed at scale.’
‘Such schemes have multiple positive impacts, not only do they help the clean energy transition, but their profits also benefit local people.’
‘By driving down the cost of finance, we have helped Heart of England solar to operate more profitably and increase its financial contribution to the community.’
Krishna Chokshi, investment manager at SASC said: ‘Community energy projects like this are essential as communities look to provide greener energy solutions and surpluses for the benefit of their local area.’
Photo Credit – John Scott