TWO schools in Trowbridge and Corsham are the first to benefit from a new scheme where solar panels have been fitted to their roofs.

The Mead Community Primary School at Hilperton, and The Corsham School have joined forces with a new community energy organisation, which pays for solar panels to be installed, then the money is recouped from investment from the community.

Last weekend, 210 panels were installed at The Mead and 212 were installed at The Corsham School as part of the project by Bath and West Community Electricity (BWCE), which is being supported by electricity firm Scottish and Southern Electricity.

Each project has cost around £125,000.

Anyone in the community can take out shares in the not-for-profit organisations with investments of between £500 and £20,000, which go towards paying off the cost of solar panels.

Investors are expected to receive at least a seven per cent return over 25 years.

Alison Turnbull, project manager for BWCE, said: “This is such a wonderful scheme because it is great for everyone.

“It is good for the school because they only pay for half the electricity they are used to paying. It is good for the community because they can invest in it, and it is of course good for the environment.”

Sam Phillips, a teacher at The Mead, said: “We are already a very green school.

“We have our bicycle shelter, we grow our own vegetables and we do a lot of recycling so this just seemed like the next thing to do.

“The children are all very aware of the environment through their classes and so they have taken a lot of interest in what is being done.”

Shawn Robertson, project manager for SSE, said: “We have carried out the project in both of the schools at the same time and it has been done within a week.

“It has been a huge challenge for us because we hadn’t even done one project like this in a week before, not to mention two.

“These big installations are viable projects. You get a good revenue from them when they are bigger like this.”

Anyone looking for more information about the project or how to invest can visit the BWCE website at