Cabinet councillors will next week (25/3/21) consider proposals for green energy generation that would help meet the council’s target for carbon net zero by 2030 within Lewes District. The first project could increase solar electricity in the district by 12,000 megawatts (MW) over the next four years.

The solar farm proposal is being developed by OVESCO, a not-for-profit enterprise, and would have the potential to generate up to around 14,000 MW of clean electricity every year. OVESCO has so far delivered over 5,000 MW via community solar panels on local schools and businesses.

Subject to a feasibility study, due-diligence and extensive public engagement, a council investment of circa £3m could lead to a community owned solar farm supplying up to 4% of the district’s annual electricity.

Councillor Matthew Bird (pictured), Cabinet Member for Sustainability, said:

“As highlighted in our recently launched Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy, community renewable energy opportunities have a major role to play in reaching our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

“This exciting solar farm project is just one of many local opportunities we are looking to support and safeguard a clean and resilient supply of energy for our communities”.

Ovesco has secured £40,000 of grant funding from the Government’s Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) to fund feasibility and initial development work and is applying for a further £100,000 of RCEF funding to cover the cost of further work required prior to a full planning submission.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Finance & Assets, said:

“Developing a local solar energy supply with the community would be a big step to demonstrate what can be done to secure a long term green energy supply.  

“We are committed to doing more to make our area a leader in sustainable local energy generation and use this to help meet our sustainability targets, create jobs and underpin our community wealth building objectives.”  ends