Ethical energy provider Co-operative Energy has announced a partnership with an innovative UK-wide environmental project designed to help schools generate their own solar energy and save money.
Solar Schools is a project which aims to help schools cut carbon, save on school funds and boost green energy use in the local community. The concept will allow schools to generate their own power by fitting solar panels raised from ‘crowd sourced’ funds donated by their own community.
The scheme, which has been successfully piloted with eight schools already, will see panels fitted to 100 schools across the UK by the end of the 2012/2013 academic year.
Co-operative Energy, which launched in May 2011, is co-funding the national rollout of the campaign. Co-operative Energy will also make a donation to each participating school for every new customer who signs up to Co-operative Energy as a result of a recommendation by the school.
As part of the scheme, each school has its own Solar Schools webpage populated with empty solar panels. Family, friends and local businesses sponsor sections of panels by buying vouchers from pupils, parents and staff or donating online.
Solar Schools is operated by 10:10, a leading carbon reduction organisation. Solar Schools also has the support of Mumsnet, the UK’s busiest online social network for parents.
Nigel Mason of Co-operative Energy said: “Solar Schools has presented a unique opportunity for us to become a partner in a truly groundbreaking scheme. It fits in perfectly with the ethos of Co-operative Energy as we strongly support community-owned renewable energy schemes. When we launched a year ago, we pledged that by April 2012 the carbon content of our electricity would be less than half the national average. We have already exceeded this target.”
Amy Cameron, Solar Schools coordinator said: “We’re so pleased to have the backing of Co-operative Energy. Solar Schools is an exciting way to really embed renewables in the heart of communities while at the same time educating pupils about climate change and energy. Our pilot schools raised more money than they ever thought possible, with Co-operative Energy’s help our next 100 schools could raise even more! Solar Schools really proves that almost anything is possible when we work together.”