The Solar Schools project, launched by carbon cutting organisation 10:10 in conjunction with Mumsnet, has now enlisted nine schools. The most recent to benefit from the scheme, E.P Collier Primary School, has now achieved its target of raising £10,000 and is now looking at maximising donations to install a larger array.

“The Solar Schools project is all about using the power of community to tackle climate change. By installing solar panels, local schools will be able to spend more money on books and teachers and less on rising energy bills,” explained Daniel Vockins, Solar Schools Campaign Manager.

Due to the nature of the fund-raising, which allows participating schools to purchase panels outright, Government’s proposals to slash FiT rates will not affect the scheme as adversely as other community schemes, such as local council solar schemes.  

Malachi Chadwick, Content Manger for 10:10 explained: “Whilst the FiT announcement reduces the total amount schools can earn from their panels, the programme is much less hard-hit than others. Because Solar Schools buy their panels outright using money they’ve raised through the scheme, they don’t need the feed-in tariff income to pay anyone back.

“The panels still easily pay for themselves over their lifetime, but Solar Schools has always been about more than the financial incentives. The other benefits – protection from rising energy costs, educational opportunities, community links and carbon savings – aren’t going away, and that’s why we’re confident that the scheme still works,” he continued.

 “In fact, Solar Schools is exactly the kind of project that we need to continue to keep community renewables going. If it can prove itself as a working model, it provides a new way for other schools and community groups to benefit from micro-generation when FiT-dependent private finance becomes less of an option.”

Although the scheme has signed up nine schools to date, it is only in its pilot phase. If the programme continues to be a success, 10:10 is planning a national rollout for September 2012.