Bristol law firm TLT has advised Low Carbon Ltd on the development of a 19MW community-owned solar park, agreeing a deal with Oxford-based social enterprise Low Carbon Hub for its first subsidy-free solar project.
The project will form part of Project Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO), one of the most ambitious smart grid trials ever conducted in the UK.
Project LEO is funded through £13.8 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge fund, managed by Innovate UK, and is supported by £26 million of private funding from project partners.
TLT has supported Low Carbon from inception through to agreeing a deal with Low Carbon Hub in connection with the Ray Valley Solar Park in Arncott, just south of Bicester in Oxfordshire.
The site is anticipated to comprise 45,000 solar panels, with planning approval also granted for battery storage. Once built, it will be the largest community-owned solar park in the UK, generating 18GWh clean electricity per year, enough to power more than 6,000 homes.
Low Carbon secured planning permission for the subsidy-free solar park in May 2020 and will remain involved in the construction and long-term management of the site on behalf of its new social enterprise partner.
The solar park will provide an important ‘anchor generation load’ for Project Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO). This collaborative partnership is one of the most ambitious, wide-ranging innovative and holistic smart grid trials ever conducted in the UK. It is an incredible opportunity to fundamentally change the way the UK energy system works. Be part of the largest community-owned solar park in the UK and consider investing in the CEF 2021.
The multi-disciplinary TLT team was led by real estate partner Matt Grimwood and corporate partner Kay Hobbs, with support from banking partner Gary Roscoe, planning legal director Fergus Charlton and solicitors Andy Brown and Scott Harding.
Matt Grimwood, partner at TLT, said:“We are pleased to have supported Low Carbon on another market leading transaction. The changes in energy demand means local, flexible generation is critical to aid the transition as the UK integrates more renewable power into the mix. This site presents a great opportunity to demonstrate the potential of the coordinated use of local generation, storage and demand in decarbonising the energy system.”
Mike Rutgers, Head of Development at Low Carbon, added: “We’re delighted to be supporting renewable generation and energy storage at a local level and are excited about our partnership with Low Carbon Hub on this project.
“Once complete, the park will form part of one of the most ambitious smart grid trials ever conducted in the UK and is just one of the many exciting projects we have in our pipeline for the coming year.
“I’m grateful to TLT for their support with this transaction. Their knowledge of the clean energy sector and ability to provide a full end-to-end service was a real asset to us throughout the process.”