Community Owned Renewable Energy LLP (CORE Partners), a unique £40 million investment partnership between Power to Change and Big Society Capital, is aiming to acquire up to eight operational, ground mounted solar farms in England to put them in community hands.

Power to Change’s Next Generation Community Energy Programme will provide a package of targeted grant funding and support grants to the host communities helping them to take ownership of the solar farms and maximise the benefits to the local area. The communities will be given up to three years to raise the funding necessary to fully transfer the ownership of the solar farms into community hands.

Please contact CORE directly regarding any potential acquisitions.

So far, CORE Partners has purchased the Newton Downs solar farm in Newton Ferrers, near Plymouth, from renewable electricity supplier Good Energy. Over time CORE Partners will transition the site into the hands of Yealm Community Energy, a local community business. The installation is forecast to generate in excess of £1.4 million income for local community organisations and projects over its lifetime.

Why community energy?

Energy is a fundamental element of communities; it powers and heats our homes and businesses and underpins much of our daily lives and the economy.

Traditionally energy has been generated by a small number of centralised fossil fuel power stations and supplied to us by an even smaller number of large utility companies. It is clear this model is now broken. Burning fossil fuels is contributing to dangerous climate change and it is not delivering value for money for customers or meeting the needs of vulnerable people in our communities.

Our energy market is changing rapidly. Much higher levels of intermittent renewable energy technologies are being integrated into electricity networks through the introduction of smart grids and technologies. And electricity demand and supply is being balanced more locally. Low carbon heat and transport is also becoming increasingly widespread as part of a wider shift to a clean energy, resource efficient green economy that will reshape our societies over the decades to come.

This represents a major opportunity for new and existing community businesses getting involved in low carbon energy initiatives. Communities can develop new or invest in existing local clean power stations, buildings and infrastructure. Doing so can provide long term income streams to reinvest in further projects and services needed by local people. By leveraging their strengths in terms of trust, community links and local networks, community businesses can play an important role in providing a range of energy services locally, including reaching and supporting those most in need of help such as people that are vulnerable and/or in fuel poverty.