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UK Communities Gain Control of Eight Solar Farms in Historic Ownership Transfer

In a landmark move for community energy in the UK, eight solar farms have been transferred to five community groups in England and Wales, significantly increasing local control over solar capacity.

Announced today, this transfer has augmented the solar capacity under local community management in England and Wales by an impressive 20%. The communities involved – Wight Community Energy, Gower Power, Kent Community Energy, Shropshire and Telford Community Energy, and Yealm Community Energy – are part of a collective known as Community Energy Together. They now oversee a clean energy portfolio of 36MWp.

This strategic shift in ownership means these solar farms, with the capacity to power nearly 13,000 homes with renewable energy, are now in the hands of those directly benefiting from their operation. Joe Shamash, Big Society's Investment Director, lauded this transition as a significant stride towards meeting the UK's net zero targets while enriching local communities nationwide.

Joe Shamash, investment director at Big Society, said the move was a testament to the "potential that community energy has to help the UK reach its net zero targets in a way that benefits local communities throughout the country."

"We are so pleased to have helped communities take ownership of solar farms that deliver the multiple benefits of energy security, a cleaner planet, and funding for local community projects," he added.

The revenue from these solar projects will be channeled into local initiatives tackling various critical issues, ranging from homelessness and food and fuel poverty to education and climate action. These community-owned renewable energy projects are instrumental in the UK's efforts to decarbonize its energy system through clean, low-carbon electricity. They also play a crucial role in reducing energy bills, combating fuel poverty, and injecting vitality into local economies.

"As a community organization, we have to generate revenue to make a social impact," said Wight Community Energy director Colin Palmer. "We have high levels of fuel poverty on the Isle of Wight - the revenue we generate from our solar farm can be used to help people tackle this problem, as well as supporting schemes like Keert, which uses bikes for ultra-low emission home deliveries - and also to support us in lobbying for increased access for green energy generation on the island."

Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE), a partnership between Big Society Capital and social change organisation Power to Change, has facilitated the deal. Impact investment advisor Finance Earth manages and designs CORE.


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