Bristol Energy Cooperative’s (BEC) new solar farm in Lawrence Weston, Bristol, is successfully generating power. News that the solar farm was switched on this morning means that BEC’s £9 million solar portfolio makes it the largest community energy company by capacity.
Each year, this new solar farm, lying on the eastern edge of Avonmouth (at the junction of the M5 and M49 motorways), will generate enough electricity to power 1,000 average homes. As a non-profit organisation, BEC will use the money from the energy generation of this solar farm and its wider portfolio to fund £4 million of social projects across Greater Bristol and Somerset over the 25 years of the projects.
New Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, who grew up in Lawrence Weston, had earlier joined BEC to celebrate the start of construction of the site. In just six weeks a 4.2MWp solar farm has been built by Solarcentury, transforming the under-used landscape to the benefit of the local economy and furthering the transition to clean, green energy.
In addition, BEC has just completed installing solar panels on Coniston Community Centre, which will help the organisation reduce its electricity bills. This follows BEC’s installations earlier this year on Easton Community Centre and Brentry and Henbury Children’s Centre.
Andy O’Brien, co-director of BEC said: “Our new solar farm at Lawrence Weston illustrates how the local community can participate in the renewables revolution. We’re proud that in such a short space of time, with the help of our investors and partners, we’ve transformed an under-used site into an operational solar farm and are sharing the benefits with the local area through our community fund.
“With less than a week to go until our bond offer closes, we encourage people to get involved and help us continue this exciting transition in how we power our cities and communities. It’s an opportunity for people to make a financial return on their investment as well as knowing that their money is being invested in all our futures by helping to lower carbon emissions.”
Tim Rose, Sales Director Europe at Solarcentury commented: “We are delighted to have been selected to build this project for the Bristol Energy Co-op, the sixth community energy group for whom Solarcentury has constructed a solar farm. Making solar accessible is part of our mission and community groups are an important part of the solar footprint here in the UK. The site was connected in just six weeks, thanks to our skilled project team and engineering expertise. We hope the Bristol Energy Co-op and all its investors are proud of having this clean energy generation system in their local community.”
BEC is raising money to bring more clean energy to Bristol and beyond through a 2-year fixed-term bond offer. Time is running out to invest in this bond, which closes on Thursday 30 June 2016, with its up to 6% returns on investments over £500.
BEC is also running a share offer which offers up to 5% pa returns on investments between £50 and £100,000 made before 31 July.