Ray Valley Solar gets funding to go ahead

We’re really pleased to announce that Triodos Bank will provide a loan to help fund the construction of Ray Valley Solar, our first ground mount solar park. 

Triodos Bank UK has approved a new loan facility to go toward the construction of the project this year. Further lending will also be made available for its operation, with the park expected to begin generating in autumn 2021.

As well as the Triodos loan, Ray Valley can go ahead thanks to the incredible support of people who together invested £4.5 million in our Community Energy Fund as well as a loan from Oxford City Council and grant funding from Project LEO.

Construction has started on the site this week and we look forward to sharing updates from the project as we go. 

Ray Valley Solar will be the Low Carbon Hub’s first ground mount solar project and will result in a five-fold increase in our annual green electricity generation. Situated in Arncott, three miles south east of Bicester, the site neighbours an MOD logistics site, HM Bullingdon prison and two existing solar parks. 

A map showing the Ray Valley Solar site in Arncott, just outside Bicester.

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 £10 million community benefit funding over the project lifetime

You can find out more about the project in this webinar

Surpluses produced from Ray Valley Solar will be used to benefit the local community, with an aim to create over £10 million of community benefit funding over the project’s lifetime. The focus of this funding will be on supporting community initiatives that reduce energy demand across Oxfordshire and help tackle climate change – such as grants to support energy efficiency measures and working with schools to bring climate change onto the curriculum.

You can read more about the Triodos announcement on their website

Ray Valley Solar Park is our first ground mount solar project, but it will be our 48th renewable energy project. We’re really pleased to be working with Triodos Bank to help make this project happen, an organisation with a strong track record and such closely aligned values to us.

Along with their finance, we’ve also raised £4.5 million in investment into our community share offer, the Community Energy Fund. We were bowled over by the level of support for this share offer, which really demonstrates people’s enthusiasm for the project and support for a better energy system, one based on renewables that benefits communities.

We want to make Oxfordshire an example for the world. To show how the right investment, used in the right way, can help meet our energy needs in a way that’s good for people, and good for the planet. This is another step to making that a reality.

Dr Barbara Hammond, CEO at Low Carbon Hub

As a bank that’s committed to addressing the climate emergency, as well as promoting social cohesion, we see projects like Ray Valley Solar as vitally important. Not only is this set to be the biggest community-owned solar park in the country, but the research and work that Low Carbon Hub and Project LEO are doing will have a wider impact across Oxfordshire and the UK. 

We need projects like this to demonstrate that community energy can play a key part in helping us achieve our net zero targets, all while keeping profits within that community to further benefit local people.

Chris Cullen, relationship manager at Triodos Bank UK

Triodos first entered the renewables market in the mid-1980s with a focus on wind energy and has since broadened its focus across the wider renewable and environmental sectors. For the past five years, the bank has been named the most active lead arranger globally for financing renewable energy projects by Clean Energy Pipeline, and was recognised with a Financial Leadership award from the British Renewable Energy Awards earlier this year.