Clean Power

Published on April 24th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Yet Another Solar Schools Initiative Launches In The UK

April 24th, 2014 by  

solar schools uk

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.

UK solar school

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:

Solar Schools’ First School Gets Solar Roof Funded.. 3 Months Early

Solar Schools Program Lights Up UK

Solar Schools Goes National (UK)

CBD Energy Targets Further Bond-Funded Solar Installations In UK

Bringing Solar To Schools Across The US

Mosaic Teams With D-Sun to Offer Investors the Chance to Help Put Solar on Colorado Charter School

Elementary School Students Crowdfund Their Own Solar-Powered Classroom

Solar Schools Can Help Educate Kids About Clean Energy (Video)

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Images via Abundance Energy

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Otis11

    Any restrictions on investors? Can I, as an American citizen with no connection to the U.K. invest?

  • JamesWimberley

    In a rational world, the British Government, which can borrow at 3.5% for 30-year bonds, would simply cover the roofs of all public schools itself and let the taxpayer pocket the savings. But modern conservatism is all about creating opportunities for businessmen to capture profits and rents, so we have this sort of second-best – which is always better than nothing.

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