Innovative community solar farm scheme launched


- Credit: Archant

A community group in Reach is offering the chance to buy shares in a new solar farm planned for the village.

Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson - Credit: Archant

When complete, the solar farm will cover about 1.5 acres of land that is currently unused and are expected by organisers to be capable of generating enough electricity to power 50 homes - around half the village.

The solar farm will cost about £360,000 to build and members of the Reach Community Solar Farm group are hoping to raise the cash by offering shares.

Paul Robinson, who grew up in Reach, but now lives in nearby Lode, is chairman of the project.

He said: It is great that the community has a chance to take such direct action against climate change, and know that for just a small amount of money they help do something so positive.

“As the project is co-operatively run, they can even take part in the running of the solar farm. This solar farm is scaled appropriately to the energy that Reach uses. Half the electricity use of the village will be generated by this installation - so it is really about local people taking responsibility for their own energy use.”

Mr Robinson said that some of the income from the generated electricity will be used to fund a small annual interest payment to share owners, but the group also intends to donate money each year to a community fund to help other projects around the village.

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Mr Robinson added: “At the moment, community energy schemes benefit from tax reliefs which can allow people investing in the scheme to reduce their tax bill by between 30 and 50 per cent of the cost of the shares that they buy if the scheme meets certain criteria.

“However, these are soon to be withdrawn - so there is a tight timetable for the solar farm share offer in order to raise the funds before the tax refund opportunity closes.”

Details of the share offer can be found on the Reach Community Solar Farm website -