Ray Valley Solar Fact File

You may have seen that two weeks ago our Community Energy Fund 2021 opened for investment. By the end of 2021 we need to raise £3 million to strengthen and grow clean, renewable energy generation in Oxfordshire. We have an initial target raise of £1.5 million by 31 March 2021, which thanks to all the amazing support so far we are well on the way to meeting.

In this blog post we want to tell you a bit more about our largest upcoming project, our first solar park, Ray Valley Solar.

Ray Valley Solar

By investing in the Community Energy Fund 2021, one of the things you will be helping us do is to build Ray Valley Solar, a 19 MW ground mount solar park, situated near Arncott, three miles south east of Bicester.

Planning permission has been secured for Ray Valley Solar. The site neighbours an MOD logistics site, HM Bullingdon prison, and two existing solar parks. Planning permission has also been secured for significant battery storage on site. The final project design is in development but is anticipated to comprise 45,000 solar panels on an 80-acre site.

Ray Valley Solar will:

  • Be the largest community-owned solar park in the UK
  • Generate 18 GWh of clean green electricity every year, enough to power over 6,000 homes
  • Keep £2.6 million worth of energy spend in the local economy each year
  • Provide £13 million community benefit funding over the project lifetime.

We are so thrilled to be building our first ever ground mount solar park, which will have a significant impact on the amount of green electricity produced in Oxfordshire. We are committed to putting community energy at the heart of the new zero carbon energy system and are so excited to open up the Community Energy Fund for new investment to enable people to own part of this exciting project.

Ray Valley Solar & Project LEO

Project Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO) is one of the most ambitious, wide-ranging, innovative, and holistic smart grid trials ever conducted in the UK.
With our project partners we are conducting real-world trials to understand the role local energy can play in accelerating the transition to a zero carbon energy system.

As part of Project LEO, we are developing a virtual power plant in Oxfordshire. We need to significantly increase the amount of renewable energy generation we have available to connect to it. To this end, we have secured our first ground mount solar project, Ray Valley Solar. It will provide an important ‘anchor load’ for the trial and thereby enable us to:

  • Run trials to test the system and demonstrate the potential a smart and co-ordinated use of local generation, storage, and demand has in decarbonising the energy system as a whole
  • Test innovative local long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) that would harness local power consumption to make community-owned energy projects financially viable without the need for subsidies such as the Feed-in Tariff
  • Future-proof the project with significant potential for battery storage on site
  • Create replicable business models for community energy projects at this scale.

In our post-subsidy world, we urgently need these business models to unlock other projects. Our participation in Project LEO enables us to make use of grant funding to help establish viable new business models. These in turn can help reinvigorate the community energy community, and help local energy generation and flexibility services accelerate the transition to a zero carbon energy system.

Climate change is a global crisis that needs local solutions. We invite you to invest in the Community Energy Fund and become part of the solution.

How does investing in the Low Carbon Hub help?

By investing in our Community Energy Fund 2021 you will be putting your money to work tackling climate change in Oxfordshire. This is your opportunity to help accelerate the transition to an energy system that’s fossil fuel free. It may sound like an ambitious aim, but we have the opportunity to do just that. We need your help to make it happen.

Be a part of the transition to a zero carbon energy system that’s good for people and good for the planet.

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