Shropshire solar farm brought into community ownership

Twemlows Solar Farm near Whitchurch has now been purchased following a community share offer by Shropshire and Telford Community Energy.

Shropshire and Telford Community Energy (STCE) are a Community Benefit Society (CBS) set up in 2020. Two of the STCE directors work for Sharenergy, who have supported the group during the development of this project. In 2023, 294k in share capital was raised to bring Twemlows solar farm into community ownership, and Sharenergy are pleased to be managing the share register.

A community partnership called Community Energy Together (CET), which STCE are part of, has acquired eight solar projects across England and Wales, with a collective capacity of 35MWp in what has been described as the “biggest transfer of community energy assets ever in the UK”.

The ownership of these assets will be shared between these five CBSs; the other four being Wight Community Energy, Gower Power, Kent Community Energy and Yealm Community Energy.

According to CET the transfer has increased the community solar capacity of England and Wales by one-fifth.

Facilitated by Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) – a partnership between social impact investor Big Society Capital and independent trust Power to Change – the deal is expected to provide over £20 million in community benefit funding from surplus revenues.

“Local and community energy is key to making the UK a clean energy superpower and building an economy that works for people and the planet,” said Tim Davies-Pugh, CEO of Power to Change

“Bold, collaborative approaches are needed to rapidly grow community energy at scale, opening new markets and bringing in institutional investment, whilst remaining embedded in local communities.”

Big Society Capital Investment Director, Joe Shamash added: “This transfer is testament to the potential that community energy has to help the UK reach its net zero targets in a way that benefits local communities throughout the country.

“We are so pleased to have helped communities take ownership of solar farms that deliver the multiple benefits of energy security, a cleaner planet and funding for local community projects.”