North Oxford residents are being asked to dig deep and donate towards a solar power installation at Cherwell School. Aiming for a minimum total of £145,000 organisers at Oxford North Community Renewables (ONCORE) hope to raise the total by asking for investment from the locals.

By raising the funds ONCORE will be able to provide the school with a 50kWp solar installation consisting of 250 panels. ONOCRE will then sell the renewable electricity generated by the solar PV panels to Cherwell School at a discount, and create educational opportunities by helping to integrate the installation and management of the solar panels into the school’s curriculum. This will mean cheaper electricity bills as well as reduced carbon emissions.

The feed-in tariff payments will be used as return on investment for those who have donated. A total of 2,000 shares are up for grabs, which can be purchased from between £500 and £20,000, with investors guaranteed an annual return of 5.5%. Any remaining funds will be re-invested into further community carbon-reduction activities.

Oncore chairman Sam Clarke said, “We have had a lot of interest. The idea is not only to reduce carbon emissions but to generate more cash to carry out further schemes.”

Clarke added, “This way the school will be paying less for their clean power than they are at the moment for their ‘dirty’ electricity.”

Assistant Head Teacher Julie Stuart-Thompson said, “Students will be able to work on all sorts of data to do with which buildings are using more power and how to improve that.

“The great thing about this is that it is a real community enterprise involving local residents and parents.”

The offer will remain open until July 31. ONCORE hopes to raise the full amount as soon as possible, so the installation can be completed over the summer holidays. So far £65,000 has been added to the pot.