Francis Clark advises on community solar park ownership

The Energy and Sustainability team at chartered accountants Francis Clark has supported the directors of Westmill Solar Co-operative in the acquisition of Westmill Solar Park, the funding for which was partly provided through a public share offering.

Westmill Solar Park is located in the Vale of the White Horse in Oxfordshire, close to the Wiltshire border.  It is already operating and consists of 30 acres and over 20,000 solar panels producing 5MW of energy – approximately the equivalent to a year’s electricity consumption of 1,400 homes in Oxfordshire and enough to prevent 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

It will be the first community owned solar park of its size in the UK and is thought to be the largest community owned solar farm in the world. The share offer was extremely well received and the £4m target was reached, and surpassed, in an exceptionally quick time.  

The Francis Clark Energy and Sustainability team consisted of Andy Killick, Bob Meier, and Matt Willmott.

Bob Meier said: “Community ownership structures have a big role to play addressing the current energy challenges and we are delighted to have been involved in such an innovative co-operative fund raise.”

Commenting on the project’s successful completion, founder director Adam Twine, said; “It’s been a real team effort to have pulled this off in the face of shifting government policy and tight timescales. Westmill represents the best of what low carbon investment and renewable energy can offer and hopefully will inspire others to realise that when we get together we can make change happen and can engage positively with the threat of climate change.”

Cooperative chairman and solar industry expert Philip Wolfe added: “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.”