I’ve written about UK solar schools initiatives for years (see some links on bottom of page). Some have made quite notable progress. However, there are still a lot more British schools without solar power than with it. Now, Abundance Generation has launched a project that allows people to not only donate to solar panels for their local schoolhouses but to actually invest in them. Abundance Generation promises a 6.7% to 7% rate of return for its latest solar project. Payments would go out twice a year over the course of 19 years.
The company kicked off crowd-investing in the Engynious solar schools project last week. To date, Swiss/German developer Engynious has installed 800 kW of solar power on 19 schools in other countries. This will be its first UK project.
People interested in investing in this project or another one of these solar school projects can invest as little as £5, via debentures. The 7% rate of return is available to those who invest in the project early.
The target total Abundance Generation is looking to raise is anywhere between £300,000 and £1 million. The projects would make money via the UK’s feed-in tariff scheme and through electricity sales to the schools where they are located (with the price of that electricity being lower than what they currently pay, of course — at least 30% cheaper according to the company).
“This latest project we are offering to investors with as little as £5 to spare is a perfect example of a genuine ‘Green Dividend’ and right where it is needed,” said Bruce Davis, cofounder and joint managing director of Abundance, in a statement. “Even the smallest investor can enjoy very attractive, inflation beating returns at low risk, the schools enjoy electricity at much lower rates freeing up money for educational purposes, and the firm running the scheme will be able to expand its operations further, increasing the UK’s renewable energy capacity.”
But it’s not all about money. “For us the teaching and learning that the solar PV system brings is our first consideration,” Cheryl Chatburn, head teacher at Rice Lane Infant and Nursery School, said. “The children will be writing to the parents to let them know just what we are doing to help look after the world in which we live.”
Nonetheless, there’s no denying the financial aspect is a big boost. And very few schools would go solar without it being a better short-term financial decision. Chatburn (who doesn’t say why the school hadn’t gone solar before), adds: “But there are financial savings too which will come in very handy. The system has cost the school nothing and we will only pay for the electricity we use at a subsidized rate, which will always be lower than the energy companies charge, so it is wonderful to be part of this particular programme.”
Of course, this looks a lot like what Mosaic offers in the United States, but with this specific project being for a school.
Solar schools are one of the most exciting sides of solar to cover, in my opinion. If you see another cool solar school story, be sure to pass it along! For some more, check out some of our previous solar schools stories:
Images via Abundance Energy
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