When we start researching a potential site for a solar farm, we’re always careful to consider the local community and the environment. So much so, that we develop fewer than one in 100 of the sites we look at.
Working with the community
Choosing a site
We carry out a detailed feasibility study of any site, selecting only those that can be effectively screened from view, to minimise impact on the character of the landscape and visual impact for homeowners.
A landscape and visual impact study may make suggestions to enhance planting around the solar farm to ensure that it is well screened and any enhanced boundary planting, will effectively hide the development from most views.
Solarcentury worked with the Solar Trade Association to produce the STA 10 commitments - a set of principles to guide the responsible development of solar farms.
Keeping you informed
During the planning phase we write to local people to let them know about the possible development, with info on how they can contact us and where they can find further information.
We hold a local drop-in session in a local hall so we can answer questions face-to-face and explain the whole process.
And, we create a specific website page for each site, so everyone can see exactly where it might be located and contact us with their questions at any time.
Community-owned solar farms
People have come together in their communities to establish energy cooperatives so they can generate their own clean energy. Anyone can buy a share of a solar farm, and the money raised pays for its development and construction. Share-holders may receive a yearly interest payment in return.
Community-owned solar farms are springing up around the UK, as people seek ways to generate energy locally, rather than importing from the fossil-fuelled national grid. Solarcentury has worked with energy cooperatives on seven solar farms to date, communities attracted by our experience of building at scale, and our commitment to biodiversity initiatives at the solar farms we build.
Over two years ago, we connected a solar farm for Hampshire’s first community energy cooperative, West Solent Solar Cooperative. This project is owned by over 500 investors, many of them from the local community. This 5MWp site generates enough solar electricity annually to power the equivalent of almost 600 local homes. Find out more about WSSC here.
We recognise that the construction phase of a solar farm can be disruptive and we also recognise that there isn’t automatically a direct benefit to neighbours of the solar farm. We want the local community to share the benefits and we want to be a ‘good neighbour’. We have therefore established the Solarcentury Community Fund.
The fund will provide a monetary contribution for specified local and community projects which will be available after construction of the solar farm project.
We operate the fund in conjunction with our partner, Grantscape. To find out more click here.