From a community-owned solar power station on a brewery roof to solar gardens and shared arrays in DC, the idea of collectively-owned, community-focused renewables is certainly nothing new.
But it is an idea that is gaining traction. And activists in England, under the auspices of Westmill Solar Cooperative, have just launched what they claim to be the biggest community-owned solar project in the world, purchasing an existing 5MW solar farm near Oxford which generated over 4,900MWh of electricity in the last year. Westmill executive Phillip Wolfe lauds the project as a major step in the renewable energy revolution:
“Solar power will become the world’s greatest energy source in our lifetime; heralding a new era of sustainable and ‘democratic’ energy supply. As the success of Westmill shows, solar energy enables ordinary people to produce clean power, not only on their roof tops, but also at utility scale."
The project attracted 1650 investors, raising almost £6million in just 6 weeks.
All the polls we see supporting clean energy is one thing. The public voting with their wallets is quite another.