Shared solar parks: What are they and why should you co-own one? 

Solar parks are a fantastic source of renewable energy. We know our members love their wind farms ownership. We’re really excited to be adding solar farms into this mix. It’s not about wind or solar, rather wind AND solar. The mix works really well in the UK for renewable power all year round. 

It also works really well together for Ripple members. Keep reading to discover how Ripple shared solar farms are different from Ripple wind farms and how they work really well together. 

Aerial View of Solar Park

How much could I save? 

Before we discuss solar savings generally, a quick note on this. All costs and projects vary, so should be looked at on a project by project basis. The final costings will be available in the share offer document. 

But as a general rule of thumb, with solar farms, the upfront cost is a little higher. But, because solar parks have a longer life span, you also get your savings for a longer period of time. On average, solar parks last 40 years, in comparison to a wind farm’s 25 year life span. So owning a bit of shared solar park would give you lower and stabilised bills for four decades. As seen in the last few years, electricity prices are *incredibly* volatile and are forecast to stay relatively high for the foreseeable future. Owning a bit of a solar park can help give you long term peace of mind.

For Project 3, to power 100% of the average 3 bed household, we estimate it’ll cost about £3,000. See below for how this compares with Kirk Hill, our last project. Although the upfront cost is higher with solar, you get your savings for a longer period and save more over the total lifespan of the project.    

NB – As with all of our projects, savings and payback period depend on wholesale electricity prices. Solar payback assumes full generation in 2025.

Four decades of price security 

One of the best things about solar parks are their long lifespans. A project can pump out cheaper, greener power for 1000s of people for a whopping forty years. That’s four decades of stabilised and lower electricity bills. If you move house in that time, your Ripple shares move with you. And you can bequeath your shares to someone in the event of your death. So a loved one can continue to benefit from your green power and stabilised bills for the long term. 

How are wind and solar different? 

The key difference between wind and solar is their seasonality. As we know, it tends to be sunnier in the summer and windier in the winter. And the generation profiles of wind and solar reflect this pattern. It makes them the perfect pairing, giving us renewable power all year round. 

Seasonal generation from wind and solar energy

The great thing about the Ripple model is that it’s completely separate from your consumption. The savings are simply based on how much you share of the project generates. These savings are added as a credit on your account. So you can build up lots of credit on your account over the summer, ready to use up in winter when everyone tends to use more power.

How could I combine solar with my existing wind farm portfolio? 

Owning a bit of a wind farm and a bit of a shared solar park is the perfect way to diversify your generation throughout the year. 

Ownership of Ripple projects is capped at 120% of your consumption. So if you’re already a Ripple member with wind farm shares and you’re not at your 120% cap, then you can look to diversify your portfolio by adding some shared solar ownership too. This will help spread your savings throughout the year. 

If you’re new to Ripple, you could start your journey with some shares in our first shared solar park. And save some space in your ownership portfolio so you can participate in future projects too. 

How much should I own? 

The short answer is, it’s up to you. The more you own, the more you save. There is no perfect split between wind and solar shares. It will depend on what works best for you. Based on generation estimates, if you were looking to stabilise your bill savings throughout the year, a split of roughly 2/3rds wind and 1/3rd solar ownership would give you the best seasonal balance throughout the year. 

But the best thing about the Ripple model, is that your savings aren’t linked to your consumption. So if you generate more in summer with lots of solar savings, this credit can build up on your account. This gives you a nice buffer as you come into the winter months when we all tend to use more energy.  The credit is added to your bill the same way the Government’s recent bill support was, then it sits in your account for when you want to use it. 

Can I own a bit of shared solar as well as my rooftop solar? 

Absolutely. Ground mounted solar is a great addition to rooftop solar. Owning a bit of a shared solar park is a perfect way to increase your generation from the sun without having to add any more panels to your roof. Plus, thanks to the economies of scale, we estimate Ripple projects are around 65% cheaper than the upfront cost of installing rooftop solar panels. And, they are placed in optimum locations for maximum sunshine and efficiency. Just over 5 panels is enough to power 100% of the average UK home. 

Think shared solar is a bright idea? Reserve your space now to get exclusive access when we launch the UK’s largest consumer owned solar park 

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