Help tackle the climate emergency, bring more money into the local area and improve life for people who live and work here.
Kent Community Energy
A chance to get involved with community owned solar
Orchard Farm Solar Array in North Kent, has been up and running since 2016. It is owned by a local non-profit group, Orchard Community Energy, with profits going to support community projects in Swale and Medway.
Now there is a great opportunity to bring another solar farm next door into full community ownership through a new group, Kent Community Energy, which could provide a fund of over £1 million to support social and sustainability initiatives in the wider Kent area over the next 23 years.
The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is working with experienced partner organisations and Orchard Community Energy, with backing from Power to Change and Big Society Capital, to help this happen.
We also need enthusiastic people in Kent to make this exciting project a success!
About Kent Community Energy Solar Farm
Located on farmland in North Kent, near Sittingbourne
Adjacent to the community-owned Orchard Farm solar array which already supports great community initiatives in Swale and Medway
Nearly 20,000 panels with a capacity of 5MW
Powering the equivalent of around 1,600 homes
Saving 2,500 tonnes carbon per year
Through the Next Generation programme, led by CSE, local people will be given the skills and support to transfer Kent Community Energy Solar Farm into full local community ownership and develop more community energy projects across Kent.
Find out more
We’re looking for volunteers to join the new community energy group, Kent Community Energy, which will eventually own and manage the solar farm.
The group will run a share or bond offer, inviting local people to invest in the solar farm. The group will then manage the solar farm as a community-owned business and decide what the profits should be spent on.
We will provide plenty of support and training. You can get involved as much or as little as you like and we welcome people from any and all backgrounds, with lots of relevant experience or none!
Typical tasks could include:
Producing leaflets and brochures for the investment offer
Explaining the project to other local people
Helping with publicity and social media
Working with others to decide how to run the business
Making sure the money goes to support the right local good causes.
It’s a great chance to learn new skills and knowledge, meet like-minded people and above all make a positive contribution to your local community.
Community-owned energy projects are already generating big benefits across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Source - Community Energy England, State of the Sector Report 2019
What are the benefits to the community?
The first few grants from the solar farm are now being awarded with help from Orchard Community Energy. These will support wildlife conservation, sustainable living, engaging young people and more.
Once the second solar farm is in full community ownership, even more funds can be spent in Kent – in the region of £1 million over its 23-year life.
The benefits would be widespread – from energy to education – and might include:
Tackling fuel poverty which affects 10% of Kent households
Better community spaces and more cultural events
Improving local biodiversity and wildlife
New green energy projects to help cut carbon emissions
Decisions on how the money would be spent would be made by local people in the community energy group.
Decisions on how to spend the money would be made by local people.
Orchard Community Energy used some of their funds to install beehives at a local orchard.