Community for Renewables acquires the largest community solar project in the UK

Communities for Renewables (CfR) has announced the purchase and financing of the UK’s largest community solar project.

The company bought Wick Farm, a 9.3MW facility between Weston-super-Mare and Burnham on Sea, from EPC contractor Gemma Energy through a loan from Leapfrog Finance.

It will run the solar plant as a community project, and estimates the project has the potential to generate at least £1.2m for local organisations and projects over its 25-year lifetime.

CfR, a member of Co-operatives UK, will launch a community share offer next year. An asset-locked community interest company, it helps local energy enterprises, authorities and commercial developers establish and manage renewable energy schemes.

The company re-invests surplus profits to support further community energy initiatives and helps set up community benefit societies for renewable energy projects.

Development manager Tom Cosgrove said: “It’s great to be involved in securing another significant-scale solar project into community ownership.

“CfR has managed the finance and delivery of almost £25m of community solar projects over the last 18 months. Each project involves a huge amount of work from all involved.

“We are looking forward to working with local organisations to develop the community model for the project and launching the community investment offer early next year.”

Richard O’Rourke, managing director of Leapfrog Finance, added: “We’re delighted to have been able to support CfR’s acquisition of this project. It is yet another example of Leapfrog’s commitment to not only enabling community ownership, but maximising social impact.

“Forecast to deliver over £1.2m of community income over the life of the project, it has enormous potential to catalyse the delivery of social impact across a wide spectrum of issues in the community.”