York Community Energy

Solar City Farm

York Community Energy has the grand ambition to build a ‘Solar City Farm’ – a solar farm spread across the rooftops of buildings across the City of York area.


Download the solar project explainer leaflet (PDF, 2.8MB)

In the first phase we are looking to partner up with three or four community buildings – for instance village halls, schools, sports halls, church halls, churches or other places of worship. We would pay a nominal rent for the roofs and sell them the electricity generated to the occupant of the building at below-grid prices. Power not used on site could then be sold on through the grid.

The solar panels would be community-owned. This means that they would be owned and managed by a company set up solely for the purpose, funded and controlled by a community share issue – where one investor has one vote, irrespective of how much has been invested. Some proportion of the funds raised would then be disbursed into other community projects, according to the wishes of the investors.

This is not an original idea – a similar scheme is already in operation in Sheffield and one is currently underway in Edinburgh.

The great cut in support for renewables of 2015 – as well as historically low energy prices – has made this more difficult, but by no means impossible. It is current not feasible to fund a project by selling energy through the grid, so one new criteria is that the building must be able to consume much of the energy generated on the roof onsite. It is also unlikely that we would be able to pay a significant amount in rental for the roof, meaning that the main benefit to the occupant is the discounted energy.

This all means that we have some pretty stringent criteria for a viable project:

This sounds pretty tight, but there are lots of roofs in York that meet these conditions. If you can suggest one yourself, or help us reach out to site owners, please get in touch.

Download our solar project leaflet [PDF, 2.8MB] for more information – and please feel free to pass this on to anyone that you know who owns or works at a potential host location.


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