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Schools Energy Co-op

What they do

Schools’ Energy Co-op is an award winning, successful, ethical, community-based, profitable social enterprise. It has previously raised over £2,200,000 from four previous share offers, investing that money in installing solar panels on schools and paid interest to its members on their investment. It launched in August 2014 and has already generated more than 4.5GWh of renewable electricity.

A simple and impactful model

Schools' Energy Co-op installs solar panels on schools (and occasionally on other buildings), saving schools money and cutting their carbon emissions.

The Co-op pays a fair return to its members who invest in its shares, repays its members over 20 years (with scope for individual members to be repaid early) and pays any remaining surplus to the schools or on building more solar panels.

Schools' Energy Co-op gives the solar panels fully maintained to the schools after 20 years, when they still have years of life left in them.

Where possible the Co-op works with local partners to increase its local impact.

It applies co-operative values to everything it does: schools can have confidence in dealing with Schools' Energy Co-op that it will be totally fair and transparent in its relationship with them.

Making a difference

Panels being installed at Perivale

Investing in Schools’ Energy Co-op delivers a positive ethical, social, educational and environmental return. The Co-op enables investors and schools to make a real contribution to the development of renewable energy and to the UK's response to climate change and energy security, while supporting schools financially and in their educational, sustainability and community work. The Co-op’s work is very tangible: members can see the difference their investment makes on the roofs of schools.

In the Co-op’s last financial year it generated 1,450MWh of electricity, reducing emissions by about 710 tonnes of carbon dioxide (by offsetting gas fuelled generation). This year’s generation and carbon savings will be materially higher as the Co-op benefits from a full year of generation from the installations made last year.

The schools will buy any electricity generated by the panels that they use at a price which gives them a material, immediate financial saving. They also receive an excellent educational resource with graphics and data feeds explaining the operation and performance of the panels. The Co-op’s entire profits after paying interest to members, any taxation due, and retaining reserves to develop the Co-op are intended to be paid to its member schools.

Progress to date

Schools' Energy Co-op has been running since 2014 and, since then, has installed solar panels on the roofs of more than 60 schools.

The Co-op installs, owns and operates over 2,200kWp of solar panels to generate electricity which are located on the roofs of over 60 schools and one children’s hospice. Each school becomes a member of the Co-op. The Co-op receives a 20-year inflation-protected price on the electricity generated paid by the electricity industry to the Co-op under the feed-in tariff. The Co-op receives income from the feed-in tariff and from selling the electricity generated to the schools and, to the extent more is generated than the schools can use, to electricity companies through the grid.

Future developments

The Co-op registered 58 sites for the feed-in tariff before the end of March 2019, so those sites qualify for feed-in tariff if they are commissioned prior to March 2020. The 11 sites commissioned and 16 sites contracted since then all qualify for feed-in tariff and the Co-op expects that about 11 more of the pre-registered sites should agree to proceed. Three of the contracted sites require planning consent and one requires a grid consent (all of which are anticipated to be forthcoming), so the purpose of the share offer is to raise the funds needed to commission the 12 contracted sites which are ready to proceed. As other sites agree or become ready to proceed then the share offer will be extended to raise the further capital needed. Currently contracted sites include 5 in Salisbury, 3 in Ealing, 5 in Eastern England, 2 in the West Midlands and 1 in Bournemouth.

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