Energy firm pledges support for community activities

Sheep grazing on a 'solar farm' in Devon, England. (Archive photo)
Sheep grazing on a 'solar farm' in Devon, England. (Archive photo)

Lightsource Renewable Energy, which has plans for a new solar farm in the Maghaberry area, has pledged financial support for a range of community activities in the village.

Last year the firm received planning permission to build a 25 Megawatt (MW) solar farm - capable of powering more than 6,000 homes - on land at the former Maghaberry Airfield.

According to Lightsource, which already owns and operates a variety of solar installations across the UK, energy from the new solar plant will help reduce carbon emissions by around 10,900 tonnes each year - the equivalent of taking 2,430 cars off the roads, although the plans have met with some local opposition.

As part of the project, Lightsource has now pledged to make a significant financial contribution towards the provision of community activities in the Maghaberry area. The funding will be administered via Maghaberry Community Centre.

Conor McGuigan, Director of Acquisitions at Lightsource, said: “As a company we are committed to making a positive long-term difference to local communities around the country. Maghaberry Community Centre provides excellent facilities for the local community and we want to support them to continue their excellent work in the local community.”

Residents of all ages use the community centre for a range of activities including children’s groups, fitness classes, arts and crafts workshops, senior citizen groups and clubs. Special events are also hosted at the centre throughout the year.

Welcoming the company’s commitment to the local community, Tracey Crothers, Manager of Maghaberry Community Centre, said: “Maghaberry Community Association is overwhelmed by the generosity of Lightsource. The financial contribution will ensure that we can continue to provide an effective service to the residents of Maghaberry.”

The company say the solar farm will also bring about additional benefits in the form of biodiversity enhancements to support local wildlife.

Mr McGuigan added: “Lightsource has a robust site selection process and we only progress the most appropriate sites for potential solar farms. The site at Maghaberry is ideal as it is an unused site that is adjacent to a grid connection. It’s out of the way and well-screened, so very few people will ever see it from the outside. There is also plenty of potential to add biodiversity enhancements and opportunities for community involvement and education.”