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Solar farm offers shares to investors in Iwade

Up to £1 million of shares in a new solar farm are to be offered to investors, with discounted rates for people living nearby.

Thousands of panels are being installed on GH Dean and Co farmland south of Iwade.

Now people are being invited to invest in what is to become one of the first community-owned solar projects in Kent.

Under the share offer, which opens this week, the minimum investment will be £500, or £250 for residents of Iwade and Bobbing, with an upper limit of £100,000.

Projected returns, say the scheme organisers, are 7% a year, for up to 20 years.

The site will be split in two, both with a capacity of 5MW, each estimated to be able to generate power for about 1,250 average homes a year.

Solar farm panels
Solar farm panels

Known as Orchard Community Energy, it has been set up as a Community Benefit Society.

Penny Shepherd MBE, chairman of Orchard Community Energy, said: “With planning consent granted for a solar farm in 2014, we are now very excited to see this happen as a community-owned project.

“It is a great opportunity for local people to invest in tried and tested solar technology and be able to benefit personally from their investment.”

Peter Andrews of Mongoose Energy, a co-operative company which helps establish and manage community-owned renewable energy projects and has been working with Orchard Community Energy, added: “It is our aim to move community energy from an interesting niche into an important mainstream player in the generation and distribution of energy.

“I believe that Mongoose Energy working with the strong local team of Orchard Community Energy directors can take an important step towards this aim with Orchard Solar Farm project.”

There will be two share offer events. The first is at Hempstead House Hotel, London Road, Bapchild from 7pm-9pm on October 27. A second is due to take place in Iwade on November 3. More details to follow.

For more details, email Ollie@communitiesmatter.org.uk and for a share offer form email peter.andrews@mongooseenergy.coop

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