Isle of Wight CouncilWight Community Energy (WCE) has welcomed the finalising of an Isle of Wight Council loan of £1.7 million towards a major Island solar park project at Homestead Farm, Ningwood – which has already been built and will generate enough power for 1,300 homes.

The council approved the investment in January of this year, and has now agreed its loan payment following the acceptable completion of due diligence. The project also offers the opportunity for private investors to become involved through a share offer scheme.

The council’s Executive member for economic sustainability, Councillor Ian Stephens, said: “This loan, which will be paid back to the council after two years with an additional return of more than £200,000, demonstrates the council’s commitment to the environment and renewable energy on the Island. We view it as an excellent investment for the Island – and it has been funded as a growth project from our capital receipts, with the support of the council’s Scrutiny Committee, Executive and Full Council. A report into the project, including consideration of the potential benefits and risks, was closely considered by the authority late last year.”

Colin Palmer, chairman of WCE, said: “I’m delighted the council has come on board to support the Island’s first community solar scheme. This loan is in addition to all the funds raised from over 100 new members and, I hope many more Islanders will join WCE in the final two weeks before the offer ends on June 30th.”

Delvin Lane, CEO of Anesco, which built the solar farm, said: “Community ownership projects like this are a fantastic way of allowing local people to invest in green energy that’s being generated right on their doorstep. I’m delighted that Isle of Wight Council has invested in the site; it is testament to their commitment to the environment and local people.”

With the loan from the Isle of Wight Council the solar park project has now received almost all of the £5.28 million funding required. The WCE community share offer has already seen investment of over £418,000 of the £800,000 available and is still open to local investors through Ethex a positive investment and savings platform.