Westmill Solar Park, a 30-acre solar farm is on the border of Oxfordshire and Wiltshire in the UK, is offering locals a source of renewable energy and a clean investment opportunity.
The farm is own by the the Westmill Solar Co-operative’s 1,648 members. It’s the first large scale solar farm cooperative in the UK, and according to the group members, the largest in the world.
Over 20,000 PV panels make up the 5 MW farm, generating enough electricity to power 1,400 homes in Oxfordshire each year.
The group aims to not only combat climate change, but also provide locals with a positive, stable investment. And the group believes, according to its website, “ownership should be equitable – so no matter the level of investment, each member has the same number of votes at each year’s AGM.” That means each member has a say in how the park is run and how the revenue is spent.
“We believe that local ownership and community ownership of renewable energy systems is a brilliant way to go forward. It’s about decentralising production. It’s about empowering people to have the opportunity to control and have a stake in the energy industry,” Adam Twine, director of the Westmill Solar Co-operative, recently told Voice of Russia.
“And it’s about keeping money from [big energy] businesses going round in the local economy. It’s a win-win all round,” he continued.