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Plymouth’s old landfill site is set for a new life as a community-owned solar farm

Alex R
23rd Aug 2021
Ernesettle Solar and Community

Plymouth Energy Community (PEC) are working with Plymouth City Council, to develop a new community-owned solar farm, at Chelson Meadow.

The project will bring a site the size of 24 football pitches into action as a key part of the City’s response to the Climate Emergency.

To get to net zero Plymouth needs to be making a rapid transition onto renewable power sources, and this project provides one of the few opportunities actually within our city to make a substantial contribution to this ambition.

With support from a government grant, PEC has completed feasibility studies that demonstrate this scheme will generate a significant amount of the City’s renewable power, enough to power 3,860 homes, whilst also having the potential to deliver an improvement in biodiversity, and provide a huge educational experience for the public to engage in Plymouth’s net zero transition.

We are very excited to be working with Plymouth City Council to bring forward this flagship community renewables project for the City.”

Alistair Macpherson, Chief Executive of Plymouth Energy Community

PEC already owns and manages 20% of Plymouth’s renewable power infrastructure. This new project will be three times bigger than their current solar farm at Ernesettle, and will put local people in control over a key part of the City’s transition to net zero emissions. A community owned solution will maximise the local economic benefits of this investment and ensure any surpluses are invested into other local projects that respond to climate change and tackle fuel poverty.

It is fantastic to be a part of this incredible project that will revolutionise how we power Plymouth. Our collaboration with PEC is widely seen as a national and international exemplar for how councils and local community led organisations cooperate to scale up grass roots response to climate change. As our Climate Emergency Action Plan makes clear we cannot do this alone, and there is a space for everyone to make a difference. Substantial challenges and changes are required to get the investment our City needs to get to net zero, and we want make sure that investment is secured in a way that helps us build back better... This community owned project on our old landfill site is a fantastic example of that.

Councillor Maddi Bridgeman, Cabinet member for Environment and Street Scene, Plymouth City Council

The project is being delivered with support from the Rural Community Energy Fund, which is administered by the SW Energy Hub. To find out more, visit https://www.swenergyhub.org.uk/energy-fund/.

We are pleased to support PEC’s Chelson Meadow solar project through the Rural Community Energy Fund programme. It is a great example of what community energy can achieve both in terms of decarbonisation as well as benefitting host communities through the reinvestment of revenues into local projects. We strongly encourage other community groups to make the most of the available government funding to get their energy projects off the ground.

Jon Rattenbury, Programme Manager for the SW Energy Hub

PEC will be running a series of events over the coming months to allow the community to learn more about the scheme and get involved. All details about the site and any upcoming events will be posted on this webpage – www.plymouthenergycommunity.com/our-work/chelson-meadow.