THE UK's largest community solar park is set to be developed in an Oxfordshire village.

Low Carbon Ltd has agreed a deal with Oxfordshire-based social enterprise Low Carbon Hub for the rights to its 19MW solar park in Arncott.

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Comprising of 45,000 solar panels, with battery storage also approved, it will form part of Project Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO), one of the most ambitious smart grid trials ever conducted in the UK.

Once built, the project, called Ray Valley Solar, 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.

Roy Bedlow, Chief Executive of Low Carbon Ltd said: “Delivering renewable energy at scale is a key Low Carbon objective and we are delighted to partner with Low Carbon Hub to make Oxfordshire’s community energy and smart grid ambitions a reality.

"This is our first subsidy-free solar project and we look forward to our long-term involvement through asset management to maximise the renewable energy output of the site.”

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Low Carbon Ltd secured planning permission in May and will remain involved in the construction and long-term management of the site on behalf of Low Carbon Hub.

The community energy deal marks a key milestone in the company's 4GW renewable energy pipeline as its first full-service transaction and first subsidy-free project.

Oxfordshire councils have declared a climate emergency and there are growing calls for a transition to a zero-carbon energy system.

The Ray Valley Solar project will take Oxfordshire a step closer to achieving this aim, saving approximately 4,200 tonnes of CO2 being emitted annually and represents a five-fold increase in the annual clean energy generation for Low Carbon Hub’s portfolio of 47 renewable energy projects.

Dr Barbara Hammond, CEO of Low Carbon Hub added: “We are so thrilled to be building our first ever ground mount solar park, which will have a significant impact on the amount of green electricity produced in Oxfordshire.

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"We are committed to putting community energy at the heart of the new zero carbon energy system and are so excited to open up the Community Energy Fund for new investment to enable people to own part of this exciting project.

"We share a common goal and ethos in tackling climate change with Low Carbon, and we can’t wait for this project to be realised.”

To finance the project, Low Carbon Hub has reopened its Community Energy Fund and is inviting investment from £100 up to £100,000.

Investors in the fund will be joining over 1,300 people who together have invested £7 million in support of community energy in Oxfordshire. Before the fund opened, more than £250,000 of investment had been pledged.