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Schools Energy Co-op

Who benefits

Through its activities of installing solar capacity onto school buildings Schools' Energy Co-op benefits the schools that host the panels by providing them with an excellent educational resource about renewable energy, the provision of cheaper than market-rate electricity and the distribution of surplus revenue. 

Investor members benefit through the payment of a fair interest rate and the ability to participate in the governance of the Co-op. The wider population benefits through the development of additional renewable energy capacity that replaces fossil-fuel generated electricity, thus avoiding the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Benefits to schools

The Co-op’s mission is to increase generation of renewable energy, to enable more schools to have solar panels and to support schools financially and in their sustainability and educational work. The Co-op sells electricity to schools at a material saving to the price they are currently paying.

The Co-op focuses on schools principally for the educational benefit – to demonstrate renewable energy to the school age generation and so it becomes an everyday part of their life. Schools receive an excellent educational resource with graphics and data feeds explaining the operation and performance of the solar panels. Many schools are keen to be more sustainable and the Co-op helps them do so and also delivers valuable financial savings. Schools also make a good long-term partner for the Co-op.

The Co-op’s entire profits after paying interest to its members and retaining reserves to develop the Co-op, are paid to its member schools, broadly in proportion to their contribution to that surplus. This is an unusual approach which is financially beneficial to schools and provides comfort to the schools that they are not being financially exploited. The schools themselves are members of the Co-op.

The Co-op’s work in London has been supported by grants from the Greater London Authority, acknowledging the value of the Co-op’s work.

In the last year the Co-op was honoured to receive awards for its work from Community Energy England, from the UK co-operative movement at the 150th Co-operatives Congress and from Suffolk County Council.

Working in partnership

Much of the Co-op’s work is delivered in partnership with local community energy organisations, which represent the Co-op locally and engage with schools in their area. This approach has been particularly successful in Ealing where the Co-op’s partnership with Ealing Transition has delivered solar panel installations on 11 schools, with more in the pipeline, and has led to the promotion of the Co-op’s share offers in Ealing.

The Co-op’s most recent partnership is with Salisbury Community Energy through which the Co-op should deliver solar panel installations on 7 sites in and near Salisbury funded under this share offer. The Co-op will work with them to promote this share offer in Salisbury and to promote solar panels to further sites in Wiltshire.

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