Westmill Solar Co-operative was established in 2012 and was the first community owned solar farm in the UK. At 5MW, it was also the world’s largest community-owned scheme at the time but we have been very happy to see other similar sized community-owned schemes follow in our footsteps. The solar park is located on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire border and produces enough clean electricity per year to power 1,600 homes. The aims of the project are to combat climate change by financing a reliable source of renewable energy, provide local people and other investors with a stable, reliable source of income, and help the area transition to a low carbon future economy.
Every year we donate 1% of our revenue to the charity, Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust (WeSET). WeSET is a charity set up to promote community decarbonisation and sustainable energy. It does this through arts, education and community renewable projects. Over the last few years they’ve shown more than 10,000 visitors around the Westmill site, through a combination of open days, on-site events and guided tours. WeSET demonstrate what a genuinely community-owned low carbon future could look like and how we can all play a role in that.
In order to expand its community benefit programme, Westmill Solar can offer a free energy audit to a nominated community building and they have introduced a Community Grants scheme for non profit projects that promote the principles of community, sustainability, education or training.