Project summary

Following this fundraise, we aim to have sufficient funds to purchase the Orchard Farm Solar Array, a 5 Mega Watt (MW) ground mounted solar array on land west of Orchard Farm, School Lane, Iwade Kent ME9 8QG.

All necessary planning consents, leases and grid connection agreements have been obtained to build and operate this solar array.

OCE will own the Orchard Farm Solar Array and will have a 25 year lease agreement with the landowner. OCE will receive payments under the Feed in Tariff (FIT) scheme from a preferred electricity supplier and income from the export of electricity to the national grid.

The projected annual output in the first year is 5,020 Mega Watt hours (MWh) – enough to meet the equivalent annual electricity demand for around 1,250 homes.

The project has been taken through the development and planning stage to construction by OPDE, an experienced Spanish solar developer. The project is already under construction by OPDE and will be commissioned at the beginning of December 2015.

Planning permission has been granted for a 10MW project at the site. Due to Feed in Tariff regulations, the project has been split into two separate projects which will share a grid connection but will be owned and operated separately. The projects are electrically, legally and financially independent of each other. Once the Orchard Farm 5MW Solar Array is complete in December the second 5MW project at the site will start construction and will be owned by a different Community Benefit Society.

An application for 12 months’ preliminary accreditation for the Feed in Tariff was submitted to the regulator OFGEM on 26th June 2015. If, as expected, this is approved, this will fix the tariff at 6.16p/kWh. This rate will increase in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) each year for 20 years.