Ripple Energy has announced that it is creating the UK’s first c-owned solar park, allowing those who buy shares to benefit from green electricity, money off bills, and the feelgood factor of the climate and environmental benefits.
Ripple Energy says the new ‘Derril Water Solar Park’ will be on a 175-acre site in the Torridge district of Devon, 1.2km southwest of the village of Pyworthy.
The new solar park will have about 70,000 solar panels, giving it the potential to power around 14,000 homes with cheap green power.
Ripple says that the co-ownership share offer, which is open now, will close in mid-May and the park will be operational by late summer 2024.
People can buy shares in the cooperative society that will own part of the Derril Water Solar Park with shares starting at £25. The co-owner’s electricity supplier then buys their share of the solar park’s electricity and supplies it to their home or premises via the grid and automatically supplies the savings to their electricity bill.
The savings will be equal to the wholesale value of the power generated minus the operating cost of the solar park, multiplied by the co-owner’s share of the generation.
Ripple says, for a typical home, the cost is around £3,000 (paid on application) which buys enough of the solar park to generate 100 per cent of their electricity needs for 40 years. The minimum ownership is £25, and the maximum owners can invest is what would meet 120 per cent of their electricity needs. Ripple estimates that the effective rate of return will be 5 per cent over the 40-year operational life of the solar park with a member paying about £3,000 to get £170 as savings on their electricity bills a year.
Some of the many anticipated benefits of the solar park include:
– The environmental and climate benefits of a saving of 19,000 tonnes of CO2 per year which is the equivalent of taking 12,250 cars off the road or the work of 6,785,000 trees.
– Savings on electricity bills and providing a cheaper alternative to solar panels for the house (up to 50 per cent cheaper than rooftop solar)
– The feel-good factor for co-owners of knowing that they’re reducing their carbon footprint as well as directly increasing the UK’s renewable energy capacity.
– It’s a fully portable scheme i.e., co-owners can take it with them if they move.
– Ripple says other benefits will come from the site acting as a host for ecological and biodiversity enhancements e.g., new bee banks, wildflower meadows and hedgerows.
What Does This Mean For Your Organisation?
This co-ownership project is an example how the demand for green energy in addition to cost savings is creating new options for consumers – this is a co-ownership project rather than a green tariff. As Ripple points out, land use today has become more of a balance between ensuring food security, maintaining biodiversity, infrastructure demands and addressing the climate crisis. This type of scheme, a first in the UK, looks like it could benefit domestic and business co-owners by meeting a number of important needs and could be the shape of things to come as solar parks and the solar industry in the UK are on a growth path to help the UK meet its green targets.