Community–owned solar has been hugely successful in the UK. Small groups of dedicated volunteers working together on solar projects from rooftops on parish halls to utility-scale solar farms. These schemes delivered social benefits alongside environmental ones: community cohesion, ethical investment, community funds, training, education and employment.
The community solar movement flourished thanks to the introduction in 2011 of Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) – the government’s support mechanism for small renewables. FiTs were withdrawn in 2019. Projects were no longer viable and new installations plummeted. But the need to tackle climate change has only got more urgent. Decarbonising transport and heating requires a huge increase in renewable electricity generation. There are hundreds of thousands of suitable solar sites in rural and urban communities where energy is most needed. The Big Solar Co-op is our new post-subsidy model. It builds on everything Sharenergy learned working long term with community solar projects across the country. We’re excited about our vision and want you to be part of it.