You may have read of a community owned solar farm that has been built in the last year or two or may even be a member of one. If so, we would love to get your thoughts on such schemes as this may prove beneficial to those that are considering becoming a shareholder in such a scheme.
Whether that is positive or negative feedback does not matter as it is important that people get a balanced view. So, let’s have a brief look at some of the benefits of a community owned solar farm.
Broadly speaking, the aim of a small solar farm that is owned by the community is to provide a regular source of renewable energy as an alternative to buying it in the more conventional way such as from one of the major utility companies. It is also a potential source of investment income for the shareholders that they would like to think is a more lucrative form of investment that more conventional savings and investment products.
Another benefit that immediately comes to mind is in respect of the environment as a community owned solar farm can help reduce climate change in a positive way as the amount of carbon emissions can be reduced.
The average capital outlay made by each shareholder for such a scheme is likely to be lower than what it would have cost each of the community shareholder members had they arranged their own solar panels for their properties.
A community scheme like this helps bring the community together with a common aim that many local people can share in depending upon the level of investment required. It could be argued that whether someone invests £100 or £10,000 in a community owned solar farm they should each have the same number of voting rights although the larger investor would benefit by receiving a potentially larger investment income return.
Interestingly, in both Denmark and Germany, around 25% of renewable energy is generated using community schemes. The UK has some way to go in this respect.