Somerset solar farm celebrates ten years of green energy  

A Somerset solar farm – established after a fundraising campaign by villagers – is celebrating its tenth anniversary.  

Somerset solar farm celebrates ten years of green energy

Wedmore Community Power Co-operative has 4,000 solar panels on the edge of the village.  

The site became operational in 2013 and has since produced over 10,000 MWh, sold to renewable electricity company Good Energy to supply its customers with clean, green power.  

The surplus from the operation is returned to the community through grants, raising £100,000 for local good causes and sustainability projects.  

Allowing sheep to graze beneath the solar panels

WCPC sold shares to raise the £1,225,000 required for the installation, and today, the group has around 230 members, including many Wedmore residents.  

The solar panels are split across two paddocks to the north of the village and screened by hedges.  

They are mounted at a height that allows sheep to graze underneath, maintaining the value of the land for pasture and providing the animals with welcome shelter from the sun and the rain.  

Co-operative chairman Chris Jonas said: “We would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the last ten years, not only the investors but also the wider community who helped to make our dream a reality.  

“Working together, we are proud to be playing our part in the transition to a more sustainable future and raising awareness of the importance of renewable energy.  

“One of our key aims was to reinvest the surplus back into Wedmore and we’ve been delighted by the results.  

“Over the last ten years we’ve made around 50 grants to a wide variety of charities and organisations, ranging from £250 to £5,000.  

Energy-saving measures

“Beneficiaries include Wedmore Scouts, Wedmore Cricket Club, Wedmore Bowls Club, Wedmore Cricket Club, Wedmore in Bloom and two of our local schools, together with grants for energy-saving measures such as solar panels for three of our local village halls. Everyone has benefitted from the solar farm – the people and the planet.”  

Good Energy sales director, Tom Parsons, congratulated the group on their anniversary.  

He said: “The climate emergency means it’s more important than ever that we switch to cleaner and cheaper electricity instead of relying on polluting and expensive fossil fuels.  

“Wedmore CPC have proved that solar farms can play a major role in improving our energy security, without damaging the countryside or reducing farmland, and they’re raising significant sums for their local community too.  

“They deserve praise for their achievements, and we look forward to working with them for many more years to come.”  

Sharenergy Co-op has supported WCPC with administrative and accountancy services since the scheme began.   

Continues to be an appetite

Sharenergy operations manager Joe Bentley said: “We are delighted that ten years on the Wedmore Community Power Co-operative is in a position to celebrate such fantastic milestones.   

“Having generated so much clean energy and provided £100k to support local projects in Wedmore, this is exactly why there continues to be such an appetite among the public to support community energy.”  

Mark Hancock, post-construction director at British Solar Renewables, said: “BSR are proud to have played a role in supporting Wedmore Community Power Co-operative since 2016 on their journey to this amazing milestone.   

“We believe that community energy projects are not only great assets for the local population they serve but, crucially, play a key role in the UK’s drive towards net zero.”   

BSR’s CEO, Tim Humpage, added: “Wedmore Solar Farm is a great example of what can be achieved when the vision and drive of a local community is supported by not only industry experts but also by forward-thinking Council Planners. BSR look forward to continuing to support the village and this site for many years to come.”