Isle of Wight to discuss solar farm loan

The Isle of Wight Council’s Executive meets next week (8 December) to vote on loaning £1.7m to a community energy project.

According to council executive report, the local authority is looking to loan the money to help develop a solar farm at Homestead Farm, Ningwood.

The solar farm was granted planning permission in October 2014 and all the grid connections are already in place.

The scheme is being developed by Anesco and 4.153MW has been allocated as a community energy project, which will mean it will benefit from higher Feed-in-Tariff rates.

The community energy section of the solar farm is being led by Mongoose Energy, which has set up Wight Community Energy mutual company for the project.

The report states Mongoose Energy has been in discussions with the council about the possibility of investing in the solar farm or a loan.

The £1.7m loan would be over a two-year period and would also generate an income for the council of £238,000 over its duration.

“This will help establish a community energy scheme, allowing local residents to invest in the scheme and receive an attractive return on their investment,” the report states.

“It will also create a community fund, which can be used for a variety of purposes that will provide community benefit on the Isle of Wight.”

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