National energy efficiency solutions company Anesco has played a key role in a ground-breaking new community solar farm in Chesterfield, which will provide a long term funding stream for local charity groups for 40 years.
The company has constructed a brand-new solar farm at Oxcroft for Chesterfield Community Energy, which will generate 4,000 MW hours of electricity per year – enough energy to power around 1,200 homes.
Covering 11.6 hectares of land formerly used for coal stocking, the site is already generating electricity into the National Grid.
Surplus profits from the sale of power will be fed into a community fund that directly benefits local people. Around £15,000 will be given to local projects and charities every year for the 40 year lifetime of the scheme, including The Freedom Community Project, which provides support for people who are struggling with debt, dependency and related issues within North East Derbyshire. The Friends of Oxcroft Group, made up of local volunteers, will also receive a cash windfall from the project.
Members of the public are invited to purchase solar bonds offering a return of 5% per annum that is paid every six months for the initial three year term.
The solar farm is one of only two community energy projects in the country that will benefit from being connected to a battery storage unit. A 1000 kW / 1200 kWh Energy Storage System (ESS) will be installed on the site – Anesco’s 11th installation of such a system in the past few years – meaning the energy generated can be stored and released when it is most needed.
As a renewable power source the solar farm is expected to reduce the region’s carbon emissions by up to 1,800 tonnes per year.
Delvin Lane, commercial director at Anesco, said: “It’s been incredibly rewarding supporting a project that’s not only benefitting the environment but also the local community. The groups Chesterfield Community Energy has chosen to support are doing fantastic work and we know they will put the funding to very good use.
“It’s also rewarding to know that the site, which was formerly used for coal stocking, is now in the business of green energy, helping to drive down carbon emissions and create a better future for everyone. To date in schemes up and down the country, Anesco has helped to take over 275,000 people out of fuel poverty. The renewable technologies it has deployed are now generating over 500MW of power.”
In addition to being appointed by Chesterfield Community Energy to install the solar array, Anesco has been brought on board to operate and maintain it over the next 40 years.
Chesterfield Community Energy is funding the Chesterfield Solar Array through the sale of £3.2m of bonds, which can be purchased by the public, and its debt partner, Close Brothers.
The solar bond offer will remain open until the maximum sum has been reached, or until 31st May 2016. The minimum investment per applicant is £500 for one bond. Applications can only be made via chesterfieldcommunityenergy.co.uk.