HOW SOUTHILL SOLAR WORKS
The solar panels, or arrays, are installed in rows across 20 acres of land. The panels convert sunlight into electricity and feed it into the electricity grid via inverters, which change the current from DC to AC. Solar panels do not need direct sunshine to work, but can also generate electricity even in overcast weather. If it's daytime, we're generating power!
The solar panels are connected to the local electricity grid, which supplies local homes and businesses directly - so when it's generating, you will be getting your electricity from the solar farm. We sell electricity to a local supplier.
The solar farm will operate for 25 years. We’ll use the land under and around the panels for sheep grazing and to create a haven for local wildlife.
How much electricity will Southill generate?
Southill Solar will have a capacity of 4.5MWp. It will generate enough electricity to supply the equivalent of all the homes in Charlbury, Finstock and Fawler – about 1,100 homes. That’s about 4,414,000 kWh.
What happens to the electricity we make?
All the electricity Southill Solar generates will be sold to a local supplier – the supplier we’ve chosen is Cooperative Power. (We’ll change suppliers if we’re not getting the best price from them.)
Under the rules that govern the electricity market, all electricity that we generate has to be fed back into the local electricity distribution network. There is work going on around the UK to find ways for community energy schemes to sell directly to their members, and we’d love Southill Solar could work this way in future.
Until then, if you buy your energy from Cooperative Power, you have at least a notional connection to our electricity.
And the money raised by the community fund will all be invested in local projects – we aim to make on average £30,000 each year for 25 years. Have a look at how we will invest locally.
How does Southill Solar make money?
Over half the money Southill Solar makes comes from selling electricity to a local energy company. We negotiate regularly to make sure we’re getting the best price for our power, and to check if we should change who we sell to.
The other half of the return comes from the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme. Under the RO scheme, UK power suppliers must get a proportion of their electricity from renewable sources. Southill Solar is one of the large-scale renewable energy projects that is eligible for RO. We’re guaranteed support under the scheme for the full life of the solar farm.
We were one of the last solar farms to be able to qualify for RO – the UK government has closed the scheme. You can find out more about the RO scheme on the Ofgem website.