The local group hoping to buy back the solar farm at Watchfield, near Swindon, is sprinting towards the finishing line in its attempt to raise £4 million pounds in just six weeks.
With only a few days to go until the share offer closes Westmill Solar Co-operative has received almost eight hundred applications for membership, raising over £3.5 million.
It’s looking like it will break all records for the fastest money-raising initiative by a local community group for this level of investment.
Adam Twine is a director of the co-op and was the driving force behind the five community owned wind turbines already operating at Watchfield.
He said: “We were expecting to be fully subscribed as this is such a unique and exciting project. And now that word is getting out it looks like we will. Almost five years ago in a different economic climate, Westmill Wind farm raised £4.3 million in three months.
“It was, at that time, the largest share offer by a co-op in the UK; today we are hoping to smash that record with the speed of Westmill Solar’s share offer.”
The project is open to businesses as well as individuals and has the backing of large local retailer Midcounties Co-operative, based in Swindon, which is supporting the project by investing and also informing their members about it.
Frank Gordon, project manager for Westmill Solar, said: “This is a rare opportunity for businesses who are interested in either offsetting their carbon emissions or giving their business some security against rising energy prices.
“If a business wants to demonstrate a commitment to doing their bit for the environment, generating your own green electricity by owning part of this solar farm, is a great way to do it.
“Equally if electricity prices rise Westmill Solar Co-op will get more for the electricity we are selling and so the returns to members will also go up.”
So far nearly all applicants are individuals, the majority of whom live within the 40km radius – an area that the directors of Westmill Solar has defined as local and who will get priority if the share offer is over
subscribed, as it now looks like it will be.
Further information about the share offer and the race to the £4m finishing line is on www.westmillsolar.coop or from 01367 610 001. Don’t forget the share offer will close at midnight on 31st July.