Balcombe, the Sussex village that has been at the centre of controversial fracking plans, has raised over £50,000 to install solar on two local primary schools.

REPOWERBalcombe was set up by residents of Balcombe in concert with the carbon cutting campaign, 10:10, in response to Cuadrilla’s exploration of fracking sites in the area. REPOWERBalcombe is aiming to install enough solar capacity in order to cover the entire demand of the village.

Commenting on the fundraising success, Cecily Spelling, project manager for Solar Schools, run by 10:10, said: “Schools can benefit hugely from installing solar on their roofs. Not only does it boost their budget, cut carbon and bring climate change into the classroom in a new exciting way, it is also the perfect opportunity to bring the community together around clean, renewable energy.”

In light of the imminent removal of key tax breaks on 6 April for community energy co-ops, the crowdfunding push was subject to a tight deadline. Within a month of launching the platform had raised more than £67,000, with £50,000 coming from Sussex postcodes. Joe Nixon, spokesman for REPOWERBalcombe added: “People round here have shown amazing support for this project over the past few weeks – the community is really getting behind our mission to take Balcombe 100% solar. We are just getting started here, so watch this space for more clean community power plans this summer. ”

Ben Tyrney, headteacher at Turners Hill School praised the fundraising efforts, stating that his school’s solar installation will “benefit the community, the school and the children’s understanding of sustainability and stewardship”.