Bloomberg News

Westmill Seeks to Be U.K.’s Biggest Community Owned Solar Plant

July 16, 2012

Westmill Solar Cooperative Ltd. raised 2 million pounds ($3.1 million) in a bid to become the U.K.’s largest community-owned solar farm.

The company is seeking 4 million pounds in individual investments ranging from 250 pounds to 20,000 pounds and opened a share offering on June 23, according to a statement from the company released by e-mail today. It’s seeking to repay Blue Energy, a closely-held developer based in Cheshire in northern England that built the plant.

The 5-megawatt facility qualifies for the top level of feed-in tariff because it was finished before the government cut rates in August 2011. Energy from the farm will be purchased at a guaranteed above-market rate under a tariff that runs for another 24 years. The predicted average annual return on investment is 11 percent.

The project follows the example of five-year-old Westmill Wind Farm, which operates on the same site at Watchfield, southern England. It was financed by 2,400 individuals with an average investment of 1,800 pounds each.

To contact the reporter on this story: Josephine Forster in London at jforster13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net


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