Yealm Community Energy

YCE generates clean energy from solar farms. YCE sees renewable energy as an end in itself and a means of generating community funds for local parishes, to support initiatives related to energy poverty, clean energy, environmental and social projects.

Est. number of people
who benefit directly

Yealm Community Energy's story

Yealm Community Energy has two solar farms, Newton Downs and Creacombe. The former has been operational since December 2017, the latter was connected to the grid in February 2020 and is the first completed subsidy-free community solar project in the U.K.

YCE was formed as a Community Benefit Society with the objective of identifying renewable energy investments that could be owned on behalf of the community to provide environmental, economic and social benefits to the local parishes of Brixton, Holbeton, Newton and Noss, Wembury, and Yealmpton.

Having minimal financial starting assets, YCE was fortunate that an intermediary, Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE LLP) had been set up to facilitate acquisition of solar farms by community organisations. CORE had £40 million available to acquire 6-8 solar farms producing around 30 MW annually. YCE was the first such community energy organisation to partner with CORE and is a pioneer in this scheme for bringing solar farms into community ownership for community benefit. Ownership provides local people with an opportunity to invest and receive interest on their investment.

Both solar farms are able to generate enough electricity to supply the equivalent of all the homes in the five local parishes. Equally important, YCE’s ownership of these solar farms generates a minimum of £20,000 for an annual Community Fund. The funds are awarded independently and are spent in the parishes on community-led initiatives to tackle the climate crisis such as energy efficiency, electric vehicles and more green power generation.

Integral to good management is YCE’s support to landowners for environmental improvements to the sites and to ecologists working to enhance the biodiversity of the sites.

Image: CC Stock Photo

Useful learnings from Yealm Community Energy

The priority is to make sure that the operations work well as a business so that it is sustainable financially.
Considerable time is needed for financing and community share offerings, which is not a distraction but core to the purpose of local community ownership.
Generating a fund to reinvest locally generates considerable enthusiasm for what YCE brings to the community.
Integral to good site management is support to landowners and ecologists for environmental improvements to the sites and to enhancing local biodiversity.

Yealm Community Energy's metrics

Number of people who benefit from the clean energy produced.
Community funds generated.
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