Rockfire Capital’s announcement, this week, that it has bought Swindon Solar Farm, has generated plenty of press coverage, as much for the substantial generating capacity of the farm as for reinforcing the prevailing mood of optimism in the UK renewable energy market.
The UK government is committed to producing 15% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Sizeable installations such as Swindon Solar Farm are an essential element of the race to cover remaining obligations over the next four years.
But the purchase makes more than economic and political sense; in addition to the obvious benefits of generating electricity from non-fossil fuels, there are significant environmental gains to be made from inspired land use. Swindon Solar Farm is built on 172 acres of low grade land that formerly housed the airfield at RAF Wroughton. This land would be inadequate for growing any but the most basic crops and these with an erratic yield. But between and around solar panels, hedgerows and grasslands can be created that offer a secure habitat for birds, bees and butterflies as well as endangered species such as hedgehogs.
Sir David Attenborough, writing in the State of Nature Report 2016  presented this morning at the Royal Society, says:
“The future of nature is under threat and we must work together; Governments, conservationists, businesses and individuals, to help it.”
Rockfire is answering the call to action and doing just that.
 House of Commons. Parliamentary Business. 2020 renewable heat and transport targets www.publications.parliament.uk
 Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and 52 other wildlife organsations. State of Nature Report 2016 www.rspb.org.uk