Our Approach to Development
Working with communities
All our projects have community benefit funds aligned to the final installed capacity of the solar farm, to be spent on local projects bringing economic, social and environmental benefits to the area. Decisions on how these funds are used are made locally, by the community for the community. We also work directly with local schools and make additional funds available to develop educational resources linked to our sites
“I am encouraged by the high level of community support when developers such as Solstice Renewables are prepared to share the financial benefit from a solar park with the local community.”
Dorset Council, Renewable Energy Development Officer – Pete West
On some of our sites we have also facilitated opportunities for local communities to invest directly and own a share of the solar farm, working in particular with local community energy groups and wildlife trusts.
Community-owned energy can offer huge local benefits:
- Local people get preference in investment, providing an above-average investment return which may be eligible for tax benefits.
- Excess profits can be used for the benefit of the community- for example for local social and economic projects or for biodiversity and wildlife management (in the case of Wildlife Trust sites).
- A sense of ownership and control over your local energy generating assets.
- In time, the aim is that the local community will also be able to benefit from lower electricity costs too, however this requires a change in current legislation.
Minimising visual impact
All our sites can be well hidden from neighbours and the surrounding area, taking advantage of natural screening due to contours in the land and existing hedgerows and woodland. Where there are gaps, screening is improved with new planting of hedgerows and trees as part of a land management plan.
Agricultural use and biodiversity
All our sites can continue in agricultural usage either with sheep grazing or appropriate crops on better quality land. We work with industry-leading ecologists to implement best practice in biodiversity and ecology, so that our solar sites can become wildlife havens for 25 years.