UK’s largest community-owned urban solar farm starts to generate electricity

Pupils at Oaklands School celebrate landmark moment

Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative are hoping for plenty of sunshine as our solar panels start generating ‘power for the people’ at Oaklands School on Ferry Road, Edinburgh

The school is the second building in the city to get solar panels as part of the UK’s largest community-owned urban solar farm – and is the first to be producing continuous power to the grid.

The scheme, which was launched last autumn, successfully raised nearly £1.5 million from members of the public to put panels up on up to 25 buildings owned by the City of Edinburgh Council – with future profits pledged to community projects across the capital.

Solar co-op chair Richard Dixon and Councillor Lesley Hinds were both on hand to celebrate the panels going live, along with co-op board member Johanna Carrie and pupils from the school.

Directors and School Children

Credit Colin Hattersley photographer

Commenting on the project Richard Dixon said:

“This is a tremendous milestone for the scheme and meets our dual ambitions of generating green energy and a new income stream for the benefit of community projects.

“Oaklands School forms part of a programme that will be rolled out throughout the summer with completion planned for September.

“The project is wholly owned by the public and will help Edinburgh generate significant quantities of green energy. We hope this scheme gives encouragement to others to take on similar ambitious initiatives,” Dixon concluded

Environment Convener and Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative board member, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said:

“This is a fantastic project and I’m delighted to see Oaklands as one of the first to gain from it, and the many environmental and economic benefits solar energy can bring.

“In Edinburgh we are constantly striving to reduce carbon emissions and the Edinburgh Community Solar Co-op will help us to achieve our ambitious target of reducing the city’s emissions by 42 per cent by 2020.”

Lindsay Roberts, Senior Policy Manager at trade body Scottish Renewables, also backs the scheme. She said:

“Communities across Scotland have turned to renewable energy for a variety of very practical reasons: saving money, as well as reducing the carbon emissions which lead to climate change and, on some remote islands, providing heat and light for their homes.

“These schemes have also educated people about the importance of the energy they use and provided a valuable source of income to areas which may not have seen investment otherwise, and it’s great to see Edinburgh’s latest step in the same direction come to fruition.”