Community energy in Nottinghamshire

On a typically grey October day, a group of members of Nottingham's 'Green Theme Partnership' found themselves in a muddy field in rural South Nottinghamshire for a guided tour of Langar Solar Farm. The facility consists of 20,000 ground mounted solar PV panels designed to produce up to 10MW of renewable electricity. The site is split into two halves, with one 5MW commercial scheme and the other 5MW operating separately as a community energy scheme. 

This follows a public share offer that raised £880,000 and a further £500,000 from Nottingham Energy Partnership. A new community benefit society, Nottinghamshire Community Energy owns the 5MW community scheme which is expected to produce 4,725 MWh - enough to meet the equivalent annual electricity demand for around 1,150 homes. It is also expected to save some 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over its 25 year lifetime which would have been produced if this amount of energy had been generated from a conventional coal fired power station.

Investors in the project will receive up to 7% returns from the sale of electricity plus Feed in Tariff payments. Payments will also be made to a community fund (worth up to £1.8m over 25 years) that will support local projects tackling wildlife conservation, climate change mitigation, carbon reduction (including local food, transport, waste projects etc) and reduction of fuel poverty. The financial expertise to establish this new enterprise was provided by Mongoose Energy, a co-operative company whose goal is to change the nature of energy ownership, generation and supply. The solar farm was built by ODPE Group, a Spanish company that designs, builds and operates renewable energy projects.

Climate UK's Mike Peverill has been supporting Nottingham Green Theme Partnership, Nottingham City Council and the University of Nottingham in the development of new plans for energy and sustainable development. This includes support to the EU-funded InSmart project which is harnessing new expertise in energy modelling from consultancies and universities in four European cities, including Nottingham.

Guided tour of Langar Solar Farm