Read a report of our June share offer launch event and watch videos from the day below, for a taste of what makes community energy projects and Westmill Solar in particular, so unique.
Community energy projects like ours are about more than just kilowatt hours, they're about the communities they are based in and fostering a deeper connection with energy and the environment. The poem below was commissioned from the 'Westmill Solar poet in residence', Tony Hillier
You can download the full poem here.
Read a write-up of the day:
From the Rathbones Greenbank website
The sun shone (mostly), the wind blew and, only days after the summer solstice, the established 6.5MW wind farm and its new neighbour, the 5MW solar park, were operating near their peak power generation. It could not have been a better day for illustrating the two technologies and launching the £4 million Westmill Solar Co-operative (WSC) share offer.
The open day allowed the general public to experience wind and solar power up close, including a tour inside one of the Siemens 1.3MW turbines. Whilst the wind was strong and the ‘swoosh’ of the blades was noticeable, attendees were pleasantly surprised at how quiet these 80m structures were. A variety of exhibitors were present offering help and advice on all things green and interesting talks were given on simple changes each of us can make to reduce our carbon footprint.
At 1pm the share offer was launched amid the solar panels and wild flowers by Philip Wolfe, chairman of WSC. He gave an interesting talk on the evolution of solar power in terms of efficiency, size and cost from his involvement in the 1970s to the present. Mr Wolfe invited Ed Vaizey, MP to officially open the share offer and commit to being one of the first investors – to secure a cleaner future for his children. Juliet Davenport, CEO and founder of Good Energy (who are purchasing the electricity from the solar farm) talked about her experience over the past decade in offering green energy and competing with the ‘Big 6’. Juliet was optimistic for the future with more households becoming energy producers through the installation of solar panels on their rooftops. She hoped this marked the start of more local, decentralised power generation for the country. Dr Mike Wise, the Mayor of Faringdon, discussed the benefits of community ownership and the impact on the local community.
The WSC share offer allows potential investors to support what is considered to be the largest solar co-operative in the world and the fact that it exists is testament to the directors’ belief in wider ownership and involvement. It should produce enough electricity to power 1,400 homes and will prevent 2,000 tonnes of carbon from being produced. Those interested in the offer can find further details at www.westmillsolar.coop.
By Chris Bullock
Ethical investment manager