ENERGY COMPANIES PARTNER ON UK’S FIRST SHARED SOLAR PARK
Ripple Energy has announced that Derril Water Solar Park in Devon will become Britain’s first shared solar park.
The green energy ownership movement has worked with renewable energy company RES to provide an alternative way to how solar parks can be owned and run by offering households a chance to buy and part-own the park.
RES has entered an agreement to sell its Derril Water Solar Park to a Ripple managed co-operative. From Tuesday (April 18), households across Devon and Britain will be able to buy and own part of the project, which is located approximately 1.2km away from the village of Pyworthy.
The project will also bring business to the local area with RES promising to use local contractors and employees during the construction of the park. RES has said it will encourage contractors to source construction materials locally (i.e. within the county) and to use local transport and plant hire companies where possible, in addition to local services and amenities.
Torridge District Council retains 100% of all the business rates due from renewable energy businesses (solar parks and wind farms) to fund vital local services for all local residents. It is estimated the Derril Water Solar Park will deliver approximately £162,000 in business rates annually.
Ripple Energy has already launched two similar consumer owned models, with wind farms in Wales and Scotland. Owners of the solar park will see savings applied to their electricity bill based on how much electricity their share of the solar park generates.
Sarah Merrick, founder and chief executive of Ripple Energy said: “We want to create a wave of green energy ownership that enables people to make a real climate impact, as well as stabilising their energy bills.”
The co-operative will also create a community benefit fund which will provide £1,000/MW annually – expected to be up to £42,000 per year towards good causes in the local community. Working closely with the local community, Ripple and the co-op will determine how best the fund is used. RES has said it has committed £15,000 towards the warm hub project at the local village hall and will match funds raised locally in support of the project.
Lucy Whitford, RES’ UK and Ireland managing director added: “Bringing Ripple on board at Derril Water offers a new way for consumers to share in the benefits of renewable energy and play a part in fighting climate change. The ability for local households and businesses to get involved connects the community directly with the project. Ripple’s model at Derril Water provides a direct way for consumers to lower their energy costs at such a critical time.”
Ripple is ring-fencing 10% of the ownership of Derril Water Solar Park exclusively for those in the surrounding area, for two weeks, before opening up the remaining 90% to the rest of the country.