Low Carbon to develop UK’s largest community solar farm

Low Carbon to develop UK’s largest community solar farm

Published: 23 Nov 2020, 12:27

Low Carbon Ltd has agreed a deal with social enterprise Low Carbon Hub for the rights to a 19MW solar farm with battery storage potential.

The Ray Valley Solar farm  – which will generate 18GWh per year – is to be the largest community-owned solar farm in the UK, according to the duo, and will be made up of 45,000 panels.

Planning permission for the site was secured in May, with battery storage also approved. It forms part of Project Local Energy Oxfordshire, a project occurring in the county which has been lauded as one of “the most wide-ranging and holistic” smart grid trials in the UK.

Low Carbon said the solar farm would provide an “anchor load” of clean electricity generation, which is “needed to demonstrate the potential of the coordinated use of local generation, storage and demand in decarbonising the energy system”.

The Ray Valley Solar farm is to be Low Carbon Hub’s first ground-mount solar development – and Low Carbon Ltd’s first subsidy-free solar project – with Low Carbon Hub’s CEO Barbara Hammond stating the organisation is “thrilled” to be branching out into ground-mount.

Low Carbon Hub has reopened its Community Energy Fund to finance the farm, with over 1,300 people having invested a total of £7 million to support community energy in Oxfordshire previously.

Low Carbon Ltd, meanwhile, has a renewable pipeline of 4GW and most recently entered into a partnership with supermarket Tesco to develop three new solar farms.

Roy Bedlow, chief executive of Low Carbon Ltd, said the company is “thrilled” to be building Ray Valley Solar and is looking forward to its “long-term involvement through asset management to maximise the renewable energy output of the site”.

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