Solar power plant building begins
WORK has begun on installing Wedmore's community-owned solar power plant and will begin generating clean electricity for homes within weeks.
Wedmore Community Power Co-operative is using locally-recruited labour to help put up the frames that will carry almost 4,000 solar panels.
Escorted tours of the site will be taking place on Sunday to show visitors the progress that has been made.
Visitors will meet at the village playing fields car park at 3pm.
The Co-operative is also celebrating another milestone.
The share issue to fund the project has just passed the two-thirds mark, with £637,600 raised towards the £950,000 needed.
Around two-thirds of the investors are from the Isle of Wedmore, with the rest from other parts of Somerset and the rest of the UK.
There is even one investor from New Zealand – a woman with a family link with Wedmore.
Robin Mewes, one of the people behind the project, said: "It is great to see the frames and photovoltaic panels for the solar plant going up just as we planned."
The Co-operative is expecting a renewed demand for shares now that installation work is under way on the site off Quab Lane.
Mr Mewes said: "A lot of people who mean to buy shares haven't got around to it yet and although the share issue has been extended, it will close when the plant is commissioned or the offer is fully subscribed."
Investors are attracted by a projected interest rate starting at five per cent and averaging nine and a half per cent over the 27-year life of the project.
Another incentive is that HM Revenue and Customs has given the co-operative advance assurance that investors will qualify for 30 per cent tax relief under the Government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme.
The minimum investment for people in the Wedmore area is £250 while for others it is £2,500; the maximum shareholding is £20,000.
By the end of October the solar panels will be generating clean electricity for Wedmore homes, while earning money for investors and also for the community – the co-operative will plough some of its profits back into the area via grants for local organisations.
At peak performance, the plant will generate around 1,000 kilowatts of clean electricity – equivalent to the output of 300 domestic solar power systems – and feed it into the local grid.
It will save around 450 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year from the burning of fossil fuels.
To find out more visit www.wedmorecpc.co.uk or follow the project on Facebook or Twitter at @WedmoreCPC.