A partnership that will give schools the chance to generate their own solar power is being launced today by carbon emissions cutting campaign 10:10 Solar Schools and Chippenham-based green energy company Good Energy.
The partnership will start by providing 20 schools with packages of fundraising training, materials and mentoring, which gives those schools the chance to set up and benefit from their very own solar array.
Schools have until June 6 to start an application to be in with a chance of taking part – www.solarschools.org.uk/apply
The winning applicants will be able not only to generate cleaner, greener electricity, but also raise funds that can be channelled back into school resources.
Greg Barker, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and Education Secretary Michael Gove recently voiced their support for all 24,000 schools in England and Wales “going solar” and visited one of the first schools to benefit from the scheme in London.
Now, 'Solar Schools', run by carbon cutting campaign 10:10 and supported by 100 per cent renewable electricity supplier Good Energy, are giving 20 schools all the support they need to 'crowd-fund' the cost of solar panel installations.
Juliet Davenport, Good Energy CEO and founder, said: “We are really excited to be part of a partnership between Good Energy and 10:10.
"It’s important for school children to get first-hand experience of renewables and see science at work.
“By taking part, children can discover for themselves not only how harnessing the power of the sun can turn into lighting and power for computers in their classrooms, but also how to get support from their local community through crowd-funding.
“Good Energy is really proud to be part of something bringing sunshine into the classroom.”
Amy Cameron, 10:10 Solar Schools campaign manager, said: "The last few years of Solar Schools have seen communities from the Scilly Isles to Stockton-on-Tees achieve incredible things.
"Armed with our toolkit, they've raised over £350,000, while bringing people together to tackle climate change in a way that's local, tangible and positive.”
“Thanks to Good Energy, we've got 20 places on the project up for grabs. I can't wait to meet the schools who'll be lucky enough to come on board."
Fifty schools have already benefited from Solar Schools’ package of on and offline resources and training, including a crowd-funding website which allows parents, businesses and others to donate virtual panels to schools.
To date, schools on the project have raised over £350,000 and Solar Schools has been praised for its ability to bring communities together and leave a legacy of skills such as fundraising and business engagement.
By owning their own panels, schools receive the Government’s Feed-in Tariff payments and electricity savings and do not have to enter into leasing arrangements with third parties.
Sue Jepson, deputy head teacher of Barnes Primary School, London, which was recently visited by ministers, said: "Solar Schools was an incredible opportunity for our school, and an experience that will benefit us for years to come.
“Not only are we now enjoying the great financial and environmental benefits of solar panels, but our pupils, staff and parents got a huge amount out of the fundraising process itself.”
And Justine Roberts, chief executive of Mumsnet, the UK’s largest website for parents, said: "We can all do something positive for our local school and the planet - encourage them to get on board with Solar Schools.
"They make it easy and fun for schools to install solar panels so they cut carbon, save money on energy bills, and earn extra cash for school projects."