In addition to displacing over 134,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year through solar, wind and hydro generation, Belltown Power’s projects provide numerous additional benefits. We employ a combination of community support, ecological focus, and educational programmes to have the greatest possible impact on the lives of local people and wildlife. Our 22 sites power over 75,000 homes and donate over £200,000 in community benefits each year, whilst having won awards for their quality, biodiversity, and good practice within the industry.
Belltown Power is committed to improving and protecting the biodiversity on all of our sites. An Ecological Management Plan is drawn up for every site before construction begins in order to protect and enhance the biodiversity and ecology of the site and surrounding area.
Frodsham Wind Farm in Cheshire, jointly owned by Belltown Power and Peel Energy, was recently awarded the UK’s first construction wildlife award from the Wildlife Trusts for its high standard of environmental management and commitment to protecting and enhancing the wildlife on site. It is also home to Cheshire’s only pair of successfully breeding marsh harriers.
The ecological management of our sites is run by Dr. Guy Parker and his team at Wychwood Biodiversity. Dr. Parker is the leading expert in the field of solar farm ecology, recently completing a comparative study investigating the effect of solar parks on biodiversity. Guy’s study provides evidence that solar parks can greatly increase biodiversity, namely by providing undisturbed habitats for birds and invertebrates to thrive in, and through the focus on specialist seeding, development of wild-flower areas, and conservation grazing- all factors which Belltown has successfully implemented on our sites.
Even within a year of completion, Belltown’s sites have shown great ecological success. We have recorded 23 different red and amber listed bird species on our solar sites, including the black redstart at Verwood, Dorset, which number fewer than 500 overwintering in the UK.
Belltown Power supports 10 schools local to three of our solar sites, and across the lifetime of the projects over 7000 children will benefit from our education programme.
Every year our solar farms fund school visits to the sites, in-classroom activities, and bespoke educational resources, aiming to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists, and to encourage a sense of pride towards the solar farm.
We have received fantastic feedback so far from the children and teachers involved:
“It was lovely to see Year 6 students totally absorbed. I particularly liked it when one child said, ‘I hadn’t realised how much I loved trees and plants!” – Sarah Addison, Head of Science, Emmanuel Middle School, Verwood, Dorset.
Another success story is Gatehouse ACE Academy in Dawlish, Devon, who are now enjoying the benefits of a solar rooftop array thanks to a donation from Sawmills solar farm. Not only do these new panels help the school save on their energy bills, they also inspire the children, bringing the topics of renewable energy and the environment a lot closer to home.
“Thank you for letting us visit the solar farm in Verwood. It was amazing when Tracy told us how many solar panels there are and how many houses they power. I wish to do it again!” – Enthusiastic student from Wimborne St Giles CE VA First School, Wimborne, Dorset.
Belltown Power projects currently contribute over £200,000 a year towards local community initiatives across the country. These funds are distributed by local councils for charitable, educational, environmental or amenity purposes. Recent successes range from installing a high-speed broadband mast to bring a reliable internet connection to a remote village, to monthly hall hire for a community film group.
Each council has the freedom to allocate the funds as they see best, within agreed boundaries; this tailored approach aims to deliver the maximum value to the local areas.
CO2 Reductions (p.a.) in Tonnes: Using DECC’s carbon saving figure of 430g/kWh. Carbon reduction is calculated by multiplying the kWh generation per year by the number of grams of CO2 saved per kilowatt hour, divided by 1000000 to demonstrate tonnes and not grams of CO2.
Homes Powered Equivalent (p.a.): Calculated using the most recent statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change showing that annual UK average domestic household consumption is 4,115 kWh.