The world's largest community owned solar farm is now a reality. The £16.5m Westmill Solar Co-operative is based outside Shrivenham on the Oxfordshire Wiltshire border.
The 5MW solar farm can provide enough power for 1,500 homes a year - saving more than 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
The Co-operative's share offer attracted around 1,650 investors - with more than half coming from the local area.
Founder director Adam Twine said: “It’s been a real team effort to have pulled this off in the face of shifting government policy and tight timescales. Westmill represents the best of what low carbon investment and renewable energy can offer and hopefully will inspire others to realise that when we get together we can make change happen and can engage positively with the threat of climate change.”
Cooperative chairman and solar industry expert Philip Wolfe added: “Solar power will become the world’s greatest energy source in our lifetime; heralding a new era of sustainable and ‘democratic’ energy supply. As the success of Westmill shows, solar energy enables ordinary people to produce clean power, not only on their roof tops, but also at utility scale.
“I am pretty sure that this is the largest community owned solar power station in the world” adds Philip Wolfe, whose book ‘Solar photovoltaic power in the mainstream energy market’ was published in October."