A brand new, community-owned solar farm for Plymouth has reached another step towards reality.
Having launched plans in the summer and undertaken extensive community consultation, the Council and local charity Plymouth Energy Community (PEC), have submitted a joint planning application, to develop a new approximately 13MWh community-owned solar farm, on the old landfill site at Chelson Meadow.
Generating enough energy to power 3,800 homes a year, this unique opportunity would increase the renewable energy capacity in the city significantly; improving national and local access to clean energy.
This kind of initiative takes Plymouth closer to its commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2030; paying its part in tackling climate change and defining a better path for a viable future. Being community-owned means that any profits are kept locally.
As part of the process, PEC has shared information with the local community and stakeholders for feedback and this has helped shape the submitted design.
This includes detailed plans to achieve measurable improvements for wildlife as well as the significant carbon savings from the project.
Alistair Macpherson, Chief Executive of Plymouth Energy Community, said: “We are proud to deliver a proposal with Plymouth City Council that will deliver arguably the most significant renewable energy generation opportunity available in our city.”
Councillor Maddi Bridgeman, Cabinet member for Environment and Street Scene, said: “It is great to see this project get to planning. The team have worked hard to develop a sympathetic approach based on extensive evidence. Should planning be approved, we have an opportunity here to show best practice in partnership working to deliver on multiple agendas that are important to Plymouth and its residents’
The project is being delivered with support from the Rural Community Energy Fund, which is administered by the SW Energy Hub.
Jon Rattenbury, Programme Manager for the South West Energy Hub, said “I am pleased we are able to support PEC’s Chelson Meadow solar project through the Rural Community Energy Fund Programme. It is a great example of what community energy groups can achieve both in terms of decarbonisation as well as benefitting host communities through the reinvestment of revenues into local projects. We strongly encourage other community groups to keep an eye out for future government funding opportunities to help get their local energy projects off the ground”.
PEC will be running another information event on Tuesday 1st March for those who want to find out more and ask questions. You can read about the project here: www.plymouthenergycommunity.com/our-work/chelson-meadow.
Plymouth Energy Community have already installed a community-owned solar array at Ernesettle, saved over £800k for local schools and community organisations through rooftop solar and re-invested surplus profits into projects that help Plymouth residents reduce their energy bills and make homes more energy efficient.