Solar Farms In England and Scotland

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Activists in England, with help from Westmill Solar Cooperative, have just launched a community-owned solar project, which they claim to be the biggest in the world. They have purchased a 5MW solar farm near the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire border, which generated over 4,900MWh of electricity in the last year. Westmill executive Phillip Wolfe proclaims that the project is a significant step in sourcing greener energy:

“Solar power will become the world’s greatest energy source in our lifetime; heralding a new era of sustainable and ‘democratic’ energy supply. As the success of Westmill shows, solar energy enables ordinary people to produce clean power, not only on their roof tops, but also at utility scale.”

The project attracted 1650 investors, raising almost £6million in just 6 weeks. The press release adds that “the Westmill project has attracted considerable local support, with over 50% of Westmill members living within 40km of the project and positive endorsements from local businesses and councillors; and the benefits of community ownership of Westmill will be felt locally over the next 24 years of the project.”

Westmill shares on their website that the “aims of the project are to combat climate change by financing a reliable source of renewable energy, provide local people and other investors with a stable, reliable source of income, and help the area transition to a low carbon future economy.”

Across the border in Scotland, local communities are pushing for more wind turbines and community ownership as Scotland aims to be 100% renewable by 2020. And it’s not just wind power. The communities are pushing for more marine power, and now the Scotsman reports that there are plans to bring solar energy to Scottish farms:

Scotland on Sunday has learned that a Glasgow-based solar panel developer, TGC Ren­ewables, is in talks with Scottish farms to set up two test sites following successful trials in the south of England. Although Scotland enjoys fewer hours of sunshine than Devon and Cornwall, developers insist that longer daylight hours and microclimates linked to the jet stream make large-scale solar projects
viable north of the Border.

It is claimed that solar farms, made up of rows of shiny, rectangular panels “planted” just a few metres above the ground in fields and angled towards the sun, will blend into the landscape far more easily than wind ­turbines, which have provoked widespread opposition. The photovoltaic panels capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity.

Solar farms could generate an estimated £14,000 per acre per year for farmers, providing a valuable second income for many who are struggling after extreme rainfall destroyed a number of crops over the 


  • Susmita Baral

    Susmita is a writer and editor in the Greater New York City area. In her spare time, Susmita enjoys cooking, traveling, dappling in photography, art history and interior design, and moonlighting as a therapist for her loved ones.

4 thoughts on “Solar Farms In England and Scotland”

  1. You have either been misled or are misleading when you say that local communities are pushing for more wind turbines in Scotland. The Scottish Government is pushing. Many local communities have had enough, as have many local Councils, some of which have demanded a moratorium, stating that they are at saturation point. Scotland’s prize asset – its scenery – is being desecrated including iconic areas such as Loch Lomond and Loch Ness.

  2. Scotland is being devastated by wind turbines and, as someone who holidays there every year, I am seriously considering going elsewhere as this form of industrialisation is ruining the beautiful landscapes. I live in Wales and the same is happening here, too, and the Snowdonia National Park is currently in danger of being ‘fenced in’ by monster turbines. There are also increasing numbers of off shore wind factories being built. There are hundreds of groups right across the UK campaigning hard to bring a stop to the desecration of our unspoilt countryside. Please ensure you strive for accuracy when reporting on what is happening here in the UK as, thanks to the internet, we regularly check what is being claimed about the ‘wind rush’.!/pages/STEMM/217154595034610

  3. this is a misleading report as wind is the most contentious element in Scotland right now with wind fram regularly rejected by local communities only to be forced through by Scottish Ministers to fulfil political targets. Solar was only supported because of the Feed in Tariff subsidies that aere provided. So far north and on the same latitude as Moscow solar performance has fallen well below promised output. Communities are not involved in Solar energy farms but the financial payback has persuaded many householders. Some are far from happy at the gap between promises and actualities. And just for the record I am pro solar. There are issues and the southern latitudes, being blessed with more sunshine hours, are better, experts agree the the southwest of the UK is the only practical area. However look at Spain and the thousands of hectaires of land taken out of food production to be surplanted by solar arrays. The world has a growing population and to take over productive land so that owners can become slipper farmers is the worst kind of greeb and stupidity.

  4. Your article is for from accurate. The Scottish people are sick and tired of the way our lovely country is being ruined by a proliferation of windfarms being built by greedy developers who are getting huge subsidies from our government. Onshore, the situation is bad enoughbut the next step for so called ‘green’ energy is to construct industrial-sized windfarms offshore among the island of the west coast of Scotland. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, if not the world and it will be a disgrace if these glorious seascapes are destreoyed forever by ugly turbines.
    There is certainly no way that the people of Scotland are pushing for more windfarms – we would rather push them out of our land and seascapes!


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