Large Community Solar
Fields of solar
The site consists of 30 acres of over 20,000 polycrystalline PV panels generating 4.8GWhr/year approximately the equivalent to a years electricity consumption of 1,400 homes in Oxfordshire and enough to prevent 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually. It is, we believe, the UK’s first and world’s largest cooperatively run, community-owned solar farm.
Westmill Solar Co-operative is 1,658 members passionate about community renewable energy who set up and funded this venture near to Watchfield, on the Wiltshire/Oxfordshire border, just off the A420 in the UK.
Westmill describe their investment model as:
What does it mean that you are a Co-operative?
Cooperatives stand for equality. They mean one member, one vote, no matter how many shares are owned. They also mean that profits are shared by the members so when the cooperative does well, the members do well. Owning shares in Westmill Solar Co-operative automatically makes you a member of the co-operative – but there is no requirement to vote or become involved if you don’t want to. Examples of other co-operatives include the Co-operative supermarkets (which are owned by different regional co-operatives but with identical branding) and the Phone Co-operative. (Note: we are completely unrelated to The Co-operative Group).
How much money did you raise?
We raised nearly £18 million in total. £12 million of our capital is provided through a loan from the Lancashire County Council Pension Fund and £5.8million was raised in shares from individuals and the community. £4 million in this £5.8 million came from the initial share offer, which was the maximum allowed, and £1.8m via a private placement to existing subscribers.
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