A SHROPSHIRE energy volunteer group with roots in north Shropshire has been award a vast sum of money to bring more renewable energy to the area, including in Whitchurch.

Shropshire and Telford Community Energy (STCE) is a group of volunteers that has worked remotely throughout 2020 to make the project a success, and now have been awarded a grant of up to £250,000 from the independent trust, Power to Change, that supports community businesses in England.

A community business is one run by and for the community, and uses its profits to make the local area a better place to live, work and visit.

For STCE, that means working towards bringing the 10MW Twemlows Solar Farm, near Whitchurch, into community ownership.

The project is part of the Next Generation programme; a national scheme which is supporting the development of community-owned solar farms.

Nick Saxby, one of the founders of STCE is delighted at the result.

He said: “As the beneficiaries of this grant, we will be in a strong position to do really meaningful work for the environment and communities.

"Once fully operational, the project will be able to distribute funds for community benefitting activities, as well as supporting further renewable energy development across the region.

“A large portion of this grant will help us roll out feasibility studies for renewable energy projects all over Shropshire and Telford.

"We have a long list of potential sites, but having this funding allows us to start taking meaningful steps forward.

“We were very busy last year doing the background work needed to get off the ground. Having received this grant, we’re now able to take action and pick up the pace in 2021.

“It’s never been more important to do this sort of work. There’s a climate crisis, and we want to make sure that Shropshire and Telford are taking action, and seizing opportunities."

STCE planS to publish share offers later in the year, to allow local people to buy-in to the project, making it community owned.