Run by 10:10, Solar Schools is an innovative project that enables schools to crowdfund the cost of installing solar panels.
The project aims to cut carbon, boost school budgets, build fundraising capacity in schools and directly engage thousands of people in local renewable energy projects.
The online platform encourages on and offline fundraising opportunities, enables easy collection of donations and celebrates donors. Schools receive training and support, as well as access to a set of educational resources including advice on fundraising and generating local press coverage.
Launched in 2011, Solar Schools is a 10:10 project – a campaign that supports people and organisations to cut their carbon emissions by 10% in a year.
Three years on from launch, 50 schools have participated in the project across England and Wales. Based on success rates to date, it’s anticipated that at least 75% of these schools will install solar panels. These panels will provide a sustainable income stream for the next 20 years through energy bill savings and Feed in Tariffs.
However, reports from participants have suggested that the non-financial benefits of the project are equally important with schools citing stronger links with community, increased confidence for fundraising, and a step-change in green initiatives as the best outcomes.
Schools on the Solar Schools project have raised over £320,000, won awards and been held up as best practice examples in parliament.
10:10 is continuing to improve and refine the model for the school sector, while adapting the successful crowdfunding toolkit for other communities and buildings.
Award and follow-on funding
Solar Schools was awarded £50,000 in the first round of the Innovation in Giving Fund to develop the website and crowdfunding toolkit for use with schools.
Solar Schools was awarded an additional £165,000 to roll out a second year of the Solar Schools project – building in greater scalability and refining the toolkit – and to begin developing the next iterations of the model.
An additional £1,800 was awarded in April 2013 to procure support services to map opportunities for future development and sustainability of Solar Schools.
The project has also been supported by the Tudor Trust.
Eleanor Besley, project manager