Even the threat of World War II incendiary weapons will not be enough to prevent Bristol Energy Cooperative (BEC) becoming the largest generator of community energy in the UK.
Work has now commenced on a new solar farm in Lawrence Weston following the removal of 3,500 metal objects - including three incendiary munitions dating back to the Second World War.
The 4.2 MWp solar farm in north west will generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes each year and make BEC the country's top community energy organisation.
The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, backed the new solar farm. He said: "This is a proud moment for Bristol as BEC continues to help put our city on the map as a leader in the renewable energy revolution. When construction is finished in June, BEC becomes the largest community energy company in the UK by generating capacity - an amazing achievement.
"We are lucky to have such active and successful community partners in the city that will play an invaluable role in our journey to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
"At the local level, this new solar farm will offer long-term benefits to the local economy and residents of Lawrence Weston, and I hope Bristolians will continue to get involved with BEC’s fund-raise to bring even more clean energy to the city. I grew up here, so I’m really pleased to see a disused site like this get a new lease of life and create opportunities for local people in the community."
BEC has raised £9 million since November for its solar projects. That sum includes £3.95 million of funding from Bristol City Council, Triodos Bank and Social and Sustainable Capital. The Co-operatives UK member is now calling on local people to help raise the remaining funds required to install solar panels on community roofs across the Bristol region. The sites include Headley Park, Coniston Community Centre, St Paul’s Church Bedminster, Wick Sports Ground and The Architecture Centre.
BEC has already installed solar panels on a number of buildings across the city including Easton Community Centre, which saved 50 per cent on its energy bills. Profits from BEC’s energy generation will be used to fund £4 million of social projects across Greater Bristol and Somerset.
Mark Pepper is the Development Manager at Ambition Lawrence Weston. He said: "The new solar farm is an inspiring symbol of Ambition Lawrence Weston’s plans to regenerate the local area and improve the lives of the residents through our 10-year plan. It is exciting that this is happening right on our doorstep and that under-used ground is being transformed and put to good use for the benefit of the community."
For more infomation on BEC's projects and details on how to get involved click here.