UK community solar rooftop project switches on

The UK’s largest community-owned rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installation has come online, the project’s developer announced this week.

The 636 kWp system’s 2446 PV panels were installed at the Oxfordshire headquarters of motor sports and technology company Prodrive by project developer Low Carbon Hub, under a 20-year hosting agreement.

The system is expected to generate 526.5 MW per year, and to meet 39% of the Prodrive facility’s power needs.

The £633,280 project was funded through a mix of loans and a community energy share offer, Low Carbon Hub said, with returns for investors estimated at over 5%. The project has reportedly not yet been fully funded, but Low Carbon Hub has covered part of the costs through a loan from the Oxford City Council.

Of the revenue generated by the installation, Low Carbon Hub said one third will cover installation and maintenance costs, one third will pay investors’ returns and the final third will go into a community benefit fund.

David Richards, Prodrive’s chairman, said: ‘As we are developing the next generation of automotive electric and hybrid systems here in Banbury, it was very obvious that we should use our roof space to generate clean energy for the building.

‘The scheme run by the Low Carbon Hub is an excellent way to reduce our carbon footprint, lower our energy bills, while also generating significant funds to re-invest in further schemes within the local community.’ 

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