Residents reap economic rewards from localised renewable projects

A co-operatively owned solar farm in England marks its tenth anniversary with clear evidence of investment leading to long-term financial gains. 


Wedmore Community Power Co-Operative (WCPCC) operates 4,000 solar panels at a site on the edge of the Somerset village. Since 2013, the facility has produced more than 10,000MWh of green electricity, which is sold to Good Energy to supply its customers. 

As a result of this model, more than £100,000 has been raised for further sustainability investment and other good causes in the area. These have included investment in the Scouts, cricket and bowls clubs, and energy saving technology introduced to three village halls. 

The owning group is now made up of 230 members, including many local residents. To pay for the project, shares in WPCC were sold, bringing in around £1.25million, covering all installation costs. Solar panels are purposefully raised from the ground, allowing sheep to continue grazing the fields, preventing value being lost on the land itself. 

‘Over the last ten years we’ve made around 50 grants to a wide variety of charities and organisations, ranging from £250 to £5,000,’ said WPCC chairman, Chris Jonas. ‘Working together, we are proud to be playing our part in the transition to a more sustainable future and raising awareness of the importance of renewable energy. One of our key aims was to reinvest the surplus back into Wedmore and we’ve been delighted by the results.’

‘Wedmore CPC have proved that solar farms can play a major role in improving our energy security, without damaging the countryside or reducing farmland, and they’re raising significant sums for their local community too,’ added Good Energy sales director Tom Parson. ‘They deserve praise for their achievements, and we look forward to working with them for many more years to come.’

More on solar: 

Solar power to become cheaper and more efficient

Modern slavery target of new solar supply chain procurement guide

Solar energy and the future of power

Image: WCPC


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