Gawcott Fields Community Solar Project CIC is a community interest company set up to generate energy from locally renewable sources and to support local community initiatives in Buckinghamshire
SASC has invested in a solar farm built at Gawcott Fields Farm, between Buckingham and Gawcott. The investment is part of an innovative funding package with commercial investment from Santander, a grant from our partners Power to Change and investment from community bondholders.
Buckingham and the surrounding parishes spend almost £20 million per year on energy, almost all of which leaves the local economy. The Gawcott Fields community solar project is a step towards a future of energy being generated locally from renewable sources, and the value of the energy economy being retained locally. The 4.17 MW solar array is made up of 16,000 solar panels and is expected to generate over 4 million kWh of renewable electricity each year.
SASC has provided a £575,000 of junior debt to support the project alongside a £3m senior loan from Santander. This is the first time Santander has invested into a community owned energy project. As part of the investment, GFCS has also received a grant from our partners Power to Change, for the project itself and to fund a portion of the community bond. GFCS has raised over £400,000 through their community bond offer.
The farm will produce enough electricity to power 1000 homes and save 50,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions relative to other power sources for the same power generation. The community will benefit from over £2m in surplus payments, half of which will tackle fuel poverty in local areas through a programme managed by the local Citizens Advice Bureau and the National Energy Foundation – the programme will focus on the more vulnerable individuals and families. The other 50% will be used to fund local priorities based on the decisions of the community surplus panel, made up of local stakeholders.