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Newsletter Update
May 2024

Hello! Sorry that it’s been so long, we have been busy working behind the scenes. For those of you not familiar with Arran Community Renewables, it is a registered community benefit society which will pay all income above operating and capital payback costs into the community.

It was created by Arran Eco Savvy as a means of generating revenue to support zero or low carbon projects on the island. There are four directors (volunteers) bringing a range of experience from engineering to project management and finance. 

The current project, Glenkiln Solar farm is the fourth and largest project that we have assessed. At the outset we considered wind and biomass as well as solar but we decided on solar because it is a known technology with the least environmental drawbacks and as our first project, a lower risk, quicker delivery option than the alternatives.

The plan is to build a 4 MW solar farm on 20 acres of land belonging to Glenkiln farm. It is an excellent site for a solar farm as it faces south, it slopes southward, it is unshaded, relatively close to the 33 kV ring main and visible from very few residential or commercial premises. 

The total capital cost will be around £3.25m excluding contingency. The source of the funding will be a mix of a share issue from the general public and loans from specialist renewables investors such as Thrive Renewables and SIS (Social Investment Scotland) both of whom recently invested in another North Ayrshire community project, the soon to be constructed Kilbirnie wind turbine.  

The landowner has been highly supportive throughout the project and we also have pro bono support from legal and tax experts on the island. 

Progress status:

The biggest hurdles for any large scale renewable energy development (apart from obtaining finance) is to get a grid connection and planning consent. I’m pleased to say that we have been formally offered a grid connection by October 2028 with no significant restrictions on the local network. Our next step is to confirm that there will be no knock on restrictions from  the upstream transmission network at the Carradale substation and beyond. NAC Planning has informed us that they see no “showstoppers” and no requirement for a full Environmental Impact Assessment, which can be expensive to produce and to comply with recommendations.

Our next step is to obtain development finance to allow us to accept the grid connection offer, pay for the planning application and confirm that there are no transmission restrictions.

Key benefits:

The farm is forecast to produce around 5,600 MWh in an average year, around 23% of the island’s total annual domestic electrical consumption.

The total annual saving of Co2 emissions will be over 1,200 tCO2 equivalent.

It allows Arran residents to participate in solar power even if they can’t afford solar panels.

No noise pollution or gaseous or liquid emissions to the atmosphere.

View from proposed site looking towards Lamlash:

Come along to our drop-in to find out more!

We have a drop-in planned at the Ormidale Pavilion at 15:30 to 17:30 on Monday 13th May. Come along to meet our team and find out more about Arran Community Renewables. 

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