Located near Watchfield, the site is believed to be the UK’s first and the world’s largest cooperatively run, community-owned solar farm. Its aim is to combat climate change by financing a reliable source of renewable energy, provide local households and other stakeholders with a stable, reliable source of income, and help the area transition to a low carbon future.
The Big Picture
- The project generates 4.8GWhr/year of clean electricity. This is enough to power 1,400 homes/year, equivalent to every home in Watchfield and nearby Shrivenham.
- 2,000 tons of CO2 emissions saved annually.
- As well as offering local people the opportunity to share in the direct rewards of the project, the solar farm provides a number of associated benefits for the area. These include boosting the local economy by making sure the profits stay in the area, encouraging visitors and raising the local area’s profile.
About the Visit
Participants heard key insights on:
- Wind and solar technology and the electricity-generation process
- Operational challenges and benefits
- Whether the current policies support the growth of wind and solar
Supporting the Energy Transition
“We are proud to build a greener future with our community and contribute to the greatest shift in the energy system of this century as we observe a rapid acceleration of the energy transition across the globe. Through the MSc in Energy Management, we aim to inspire the future generation of leaders in the industry. This specialisation provides the crucial skills, knowledge and practical experience required by the current and, most importantly, future energy-industry job markets,” says Dr Georgia Makridou, Academic Director of the MSc in Energy Management at ESCP Business School.
“I recently read an article written by my colleague Félicien Bresson, also a MEM 22 student, about how community-driven renewable projects will play a very important role in the energy transition as electricity markets become more decentralized. The Westmill Wind and Solar Farm, located very close to Oxford, is an example of such a project. It started operating 12 years ago, when by the way the technology’s lifetime costs were +50% vs. today. With an installed capacity of 12.5 MW (7.5 MW wind + 5 MW solar), these types of models prove that transformative initiatives can be carried out from civil society,” says Pedro Vega Botey, MSc in Energy Management Student and President of the ESCP Energy Society.