£1.1m community solar energy farm is opened near Burnham
MP Tessa Munt joined fellow local investors at the official opening
of a £1.1 million community solar plant at the weekend.
Many of the 150 people who have ploughed their funds into
Wedmore Community Power Co-operative joined in the celebrations,
held to mark the completion of the one-megawatt power plant.
Their investment has enabled almost 4,000 solar panels to be installed
in two paddocks just outside the village during the past six weeks.
electricity generated is enough to power 55,000 light bulbs or
more than 1,100 microwaves.
The majority of shareholders are from the surrounding area, attracted
by a lower investment threshold of £250 for local residents
and a desire to reduce their communitys carbon footprint.
told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "This is an inspirational project,
and an exemplar to other villages in the area. It is a small site
but contributes a big chunk of electricity. It is so refreshing
to see a community taking the initiative with a project that brings
so much benefit to the local area and not shareholders scattered
around the world who are only in it for the profit."
"It's not the first time Wedmore has pioneered new sources
of energy: it had its own gasworks in 1870 and an electric power
company in 1908, long before some local towns and even the City
Every year it will save around 450 tonnes of carbon dioxide that
would otherwise be produced through burning fossil fuels. Sheep
will graze the grass below the solar panels and new hedges of
native species will be planted in the coming weeks to help screen
All of the co-operatives profits will be ploughed back into
the community in the form of grants for local organisations and
One of the people behind the project, co-operative secretary Robin
Mewes, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "We are delighted to have
opened our solar energy plant, enabling our community to reduce
its carbon emissions and take control of its energy production,
thus becoming more resilient."
Vanessa Becker-Hughes, one of the directors of the Wedmore Community
Power Co-Op, who cut the ribbon at the launch