Plymouth’s biggest solar roof is now complete

Work on a community-owned solar roof on top of the Plymouth Life Centre is now complete.


The solar roof, which is the biggest in the city, has been funded through shares purchased by the public and is part of Plymouth City Council’s ambition to become a greener and sustainable city.

The Council is working with Plymouth Energy Community (PEC), a local Community Benefit Society, to help increase the amount of renewable energy generated in the City.

PEC is owned and run by residents and aims to reduce fuel poverty and carbon emissions in Plymouth. Last year they set up PEC Renewables, another Community Benefit Society, to fund and install locally-owned renewable energy installations. 

To date, PEC Renewables have helped 28 schools and community buildings get free community-owned solar.

“We are very pleased to see this ambitious project completed,” said the Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Pete Smith.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to address the City’s energy challenges and we have been delighted to work with PEC to make it happen. Due to its use, Plymouth Life Centre consumes a huge amount of energy; these solar panels will save a significant amount on its energy bill as well as provide an example of community-owned renewable energy in action.”

Dave Garland, Chair of PEC Renewables, and local resident, said: "The sense of pride I feel standing next to these panels is huge; this is the City’s biggest solar roof and reconfirms Plymouth as a hub for community renewable energy investment. Our schemes have continued to attract local and national investors who share our vision for a sustainable energy future. The community benefit generated gives longevity to our grass-roots services addressing fuel poverty in the city. We have boosted income in the city by offsetting what would otherwise be spent on energy by schools, businesses, households and Plymouth City Council.

PEC Renewables next venture is a community-owned solar array in Ernesettle, in partnership with Four Greens Community Trust.

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues