BSR chosen to manage pioneering community solar park

Westmill Solar Cooperative

BSR, the leading low carbon service provider, has been appointed to manage Westmill Solar Park, the pioneering community-owned solar project.

Westmill, near Watchfield, Oxfordshire, was the first community-owned solar park in the UK and the world’s largest when it launched. The co-operative chose BSR to manage the 5MW project following a competitive tender, and the contract began last month, when BSR initiated a thorough review of the plant to optimise performance.

Martin Allman, Director at Westmill Solar Co-operative, said: “BSR has demonstrated a commitment to achieving high standards of quality and value for money on many other solar farm sites. Their team recognise the unique nature of our project and their passion for community energy is clear.”

The Westmill solar farm was constructed in 2011 and taken over by the Co-operative in 2012. More than 5,000 community groups have launched energy projects in the last five years and many of the largest will be going to tender in the coming months.

BSR is one of the leading providers of solar O&M services in the UK.

“We are extremely passionate about driving measurable cost and efficiency benefits for community energy,” said Graham Harding, MD at BSR. “This is a flagship project for us and we’re excited for the opportunity to further demonstrate the value we are able to add to community energy projects which are an increasingly important part of the UK energy market.”

BSR operates and manages nearly 6% of the UK’s utility-scale solar power and Westmill takes its portfolio to 536MW across 50 solar parks.

Westmill is an energy-cooperative, and all 1,500 members benefit from a share in project revenues and have a say in how it is run. The solar farm saves up to 2,000 tonnes of CO2 a year by generating enough clean renewable electricity to power two nearby villages (Watchfield and Shrivenham).