The number of community-owned renewable energy projects in the CAG network is growing rapidly. Following swiftly on from the news that Westmill Wind Farm Co-op are becoming a Community Action Group, Low Carbon Oxford North (LCON) have now reached their Â£145,000 target to fund a solar power project.
The 50Kw of solar panels will be installed on the roof of The Cherwell School in Oxford, and have been financed entirely by the local community. Sam Clarke from LCON hailed the achievements of everyone who contributed: â€œItâ€™s not the first time a solar array has gone up: Matthew Arnold School got its panels last summer, the main difference being that it was financed by grants. So we are delighted to have got this far.â€
Alongside the benefits to the environment and the future of the community, the scheme will also directly affect the students at The Cherwell School. The school is already asking those involved to come and talk to students about the environmental advantages, the business planning and other aspects of the scheme too. Information will be provided through large screens in the school and through the school intranet site to find out what the panelsâ€™ performance has been.
LCON are not the only CAG to be celebrating solar success. Sustainable Woodstock, Sustainable Kirtlington and Kidlington vs Climate Change have launched their community group buying solar power scheme and as the Oxfordshire Community Group (OCG) are now offering the Oxfordshire households the opportunity to help their local communities save energy, cut down on carbon emissions and move towards a more sustainable future.
Since Low Carbon West Oxford began investing in photovoltaic technology, solar power has spread across the network. Help and support for other groups to find out more is now better than ever. But other renewable energies are also available, and the addition of Westmill Wind Co-op to the CAG Project brings a whole new level of expertise and opportunity.
The Co-op was established in 2004, and after raising Â£4.6million from the local community the wind farm was officially opened in May 2008. The scheme, the first of its kind in Southern England, produces pollution-free electricity for over 2,500 homes.
Westmill has been established to provide an opportunity for all who are concerned with the effects of climate change to become involved in the ownership and operation of a wind farm. With many CAGs having taken such large leaps forward with solar power, the opportunities demonstrated by the Westmill Co-op could take Oxfordshire even further towards a sustainable future.