UK’s Largest Community-Owned Rooftop Solar Array Installed at Oxfordshire Aerospace Factory

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Installation of the UK’s largest community-owned rooftop solar array has been completed at UTC Aerospace Systems CTG’s manufacturing site in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

The 2,590 panel project installed at the facility generates 593,304 kWh of clean electricity a year, avoiding 5,800 tonnes of CO2 over the 20 year lifetime of the project.

The project is owned and run by Oxford-based social enterprise Low Carbon Hub, which funded the upfront costs through a combination of loans and a community energy share offer.

The arrangement sees Low Carbon Hub both lease the roof space from UTC Aerospace Systems CTG and sell it the clean electricity generated from the panels, with any extra electricity set to be fed into the national grid. Low Carbon Hub will then use all surplus revenues for community benefit.

“What made this project work in the context of massive solar subsidy cuts, was UTC Aerospace Systems CTG’s corporate goals for carbon reductions and their willingness to see the social and environmental value of our community benefit model,” said Tim Crisp, business project manager at Low Carbon Hub in a statement.

Solarcentury provided the installation and design for the project.

UTC Aerospace System, which has 126 manufacturing sites around the world, says its goal is to be the “greenest aerospace company in the world”. The installation at the CTG site follows a similar solar panel installation at the firm’s Singapore facilities in 2015.

John England, site director at UTC Aerospace Systems CTG, said using the firm’s roof space to generate clean energy whilst also helping the local community is a “win-win for us all”.

“Our business is at the forefront of aerospace innovation and technology,” he said in a statement. “We’re working on next generation aircraft that will enable greener flight. What we do inside our factory is reflected in what we do outside.”

Other projects funded by Low Carbon Hub’s 2016 share offer include a 636 kWp solar project with Prodrive, a 440 kWp community-owned hydro project at Sandford on Thames, and 12 solar PV projects on Oxfordshire schools.