An innovative community-led scheme to help North Lincolnshire schools install solar panels free of charge has raised a phenomenal £576,000 thanks to local people.
With the minimum investment set at just £50, local residents were encouraged to invest in a community share offer.
Run by community benefit society North Lincolnshire Community Energy, the money will help fund the installation of solar panels on schools and community buildings so they can benefit from cut price energy – leaving more money for teachers and equipment.
The average reduction so far has been a 75 per cent saving on electricity bills.
The panels also significantly improve schools’ carbon footprint, with more than 60 tonnes of CO2 being saved since the scheme began.
This is the equivalent of 60 diesel cars driving 6,000km and would be offset by planting around 2,280 trees.
Government cash in the form of Towns Fund money has supported the scheme, enabling ten schools to join the green revolution, with many more schools and community buildings coming on board next year.
In September alone these sites collectively saved £19,000 in electricity costs – nearly £100,000 has been saved since the project began last year.
Schools already benefitting include Bottesford Juniors (pictured), Frederick Gough, St Hugh’s, Lincoln Gardens, St Luke’s, Holme Valley, Berkeley Primary and Priory Lane, with Crosby Primary and Oakfield Primary the latest to have the panels installed.
Cllr David Rose, who is on the board of North Lincolnshire Community Energy and is also cabinet member for environment, said: “This scheme continues to be a great success.
“While helping schools cut their energy bills is a prime motivation, the project aligns with our Green Future plans which are designed to not only reduce our impact on the environment but enable other organisations to do so too.
“The solar panels we have installed have already made a substantial impact in cutting carbon emissions, something that will increase as we move into phase three of the project.”
The current share offer has now closed, but anyone interested in taking part next year can register their interest now at nlce.coop/share-offer.