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Newton Downs solar farm is coming into community ownership

Jan 3 2018

CORE (Community Owned Renewable Energy) has bought the Newton Downs solar farm from Good Energy in partnership with Yealm Community Energy (YCE).

CORE is a £40 million community energy fund that acquires solar farms on behalf of the local community, and then facilitates their transfer into community ownership. CORE has been working with YCE over the last few months to help bring Newton Downs into community ownership.

CORE invested £5.83 million to fund the purchase. YCE now has three years to raise the ‘equity’ capital and debt finance to take the solar farm into total community ownership from a community investment offer. CORE will be helping to raise the long-term loan finance, and will be implementing a range of improvements to Newton Downs in order to optimise the environmental and financial benefits.

Newton Downs solar farm is expected to generate £20,000 a year of income for a community fund from the outset, and over £1 million over its 30-year life.

The YCE AGM will take place on Saturday February 3rd, at 10:00 am, in the WI Hall on the Green in Newton Ferrers.  Everyone interested in supporting this initiative is welcome.

May 2017

Creacombe solar farm.   The landowner, Gnaton Farms has made a planning application for a 7.3 MW solar farm, with negligible visual impact, on the borders of Holbeton, Yealmpton and Newton Ferrers/Noss Mayo.  The wish to offer it to the local community to purchase, and would give Yealm Community Energy preference to do that.  We are ind discussions with them on agreeing the basis on which we could purchase it.  Note that there will be no subsidies available, so the will be a pioneering subsidy-free project, but that makes the financial viability more challenging.

April 2017

The Newton Downs construction was completed in January but we have as yet not been able to reach agreement with Good Energy on a mutually acceptable price for YCE to purchase the installation.  The planning condition required GE to accept a “fair market price”, but we have not yet reached agreement on what that is.

December 2016

We hope to reach agreement with Good Energy to purchase the site at Newton Downs, which is currently nearing completion, to be commissioned in January 2017. Once we have agreement to purchase we will be raising a mix of bank debt finance and offering shares to prospective investors, hopefully in the first couple of months of 2017.

See Community Energy and Local Supply Options: REGEN_Local_Supply_FINAL

7 January 2016

PLANNING APPROVAL FOR NEWTON DOWNS SOLAR FARM

South Hams Planning and Management Committee voted to approve the application by Good Energy for the 4.7MW solar farms at Newton Downs, subject to conditions, which include that Yealm Community Energy will be offered the opportunity to purchase it on completion of its construction, which is expecte to be in the second half of 2016.

August 30 2015

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

We had a stand at the Yealmpton Show at Kitley on Wednesday 29th July 2015, together with Gnaton Farms showing the proposed Yealm Community Solar Farm at Creacombe, and Good Energy showing details of their development at Newton Downs.  We had a number of helpers on the stand during the day and they were all kept busy with the many people who came through wanting more information.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Community consultation event

The exhibition on the Yealm Community solar farm was held at Yealmpton Community Centre on Thursday 30 July, together with Gnaton Farms.  The event was well attended and there was particular interest in the extensive efforts at Gnaton for the solar farm to improve biodiversity, complementing the other existing environmental efforts on the estate in providing set-aside to encourage  pollinators and other wildlife.

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To find out more about investment opportunities or ask any other questions about the project, please email yealmcommunityenergy@gmail.com.

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