UK community solar farm share offer hits £4 million target

Posted at August 2, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on UK community solar farm share offer hits £4 million target

Westmill Solar Cooperative, which launched a share offer in its 5 MW solar farm just outside Swindon in southeast England in June, has hit its target of £4 million.

The share offer, which allowed investors to put from £250 to £20,000 into the solar farm, closed on schedule on 31st July having reached its fundraising goal in just six weeks.

The organisers say the offer is fully subscribed with many applications coming in at the last minute. A total of 1500 applications, including one on behalf of a five-day old baby were received.

“It’s been a hectic six weeks since we launched at the end of June, particularly in the last week as hundreds of applications came in each day,” says director Adam Twine.

The 30-acre Westmill solar farm at Watchfield has already been constructed and is home to over 21,000 polycrystalline solar cells with a capacity of 4.8 GWh of electricity annually, enough to power 1400 homes and offset around 2000 tonnes of CO2 a year.

The organisers are now clearing all the applications through the bank and plan to purchase the project from its initial backers Blue Energy in October.

“We are delighted to have achieved what we believe is a record breaking share sale for this type of project,” says chair of the Cooperative, Philip Wolfe.

Nearly 60% of applications have come from local investors living within 40 km of the site, which will now become members of the co-op owning the site.

“There is clearly a real desire for this type of opportunity and I hope other communities will feel encouraged by this tremendous response to find ways to set up their own projects,” adds Twine.

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Related stories:
Community-owned solar farm raises £1 million in first weeks (5-Jul)
UK community solar farm offer opens for business (25-Jun)
Community-owned solar farm plans share offer (30-May)
UK’s largest community-owned wind farm seeks go ahead (10-May)

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