Member launches fundraising drive for UK’s first community energy project

News – Wednesday, August 17th, 2016
Solar Panels

Alliance member SOAS has launched a fundraising drive for the first community energy project in the UK.

Solar SOAS, based at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London is the first University community energy project of its kind in the UK. The project aims to get solar panels installed on the unused roofs of the university, starting with the roofs of the SOAS Old Building. This student-run project is launching its first ever fundraising drive – an opportunity for students, staff, alumni and friends of the university and renewable energy to help get this project off the ground. Funds will go towards purchasing and installing 114 solar panels, with the aim of finishing the install by late September. Generous funding for the project is also coming from the urban community energy fund, SOAS itself, and the SOAS Students Union – but it’s up to the SOAS community to contribute the rest.

‘Solar SOAS is an excellent step towards our clean energy future, and something we should all support in whatever way we can!’ – Caroline Russell, London Assembly, Green Party Group lead on energy and the environment

Community energy projects are a revolutionary way to get the local community involved and engaged in renewable energy generation. Solar SOAS will provide clean energy for roughly 20 years to be used by SOAS, cutting both carbon emissions and fuel bills. The panels will generate additional funds through the Feed-in Tariff over this 20 year period, which will be owned and controlled by the SOAS community, and
it will be up to them to decide what future green initiatives these funds will support.

Why is Solar SOAS different? Solar SOAS is one of the first instances of a community energy initiative being set up and led by students – not only proving that the current and next generation want to help fight climate change, but they can. Solar SOAS aims to raise £20,000 in donations from the SOAS community. In addition to feeling good about being part of the climate solution donors will also have the option of choosing from a selection of amazing eco-friendly rewards on offer. These range from practical tote bags and water bottles, to handwritten ‘Thank You!’ postcards from the Solar SOAS team, cool t-shirts, a solar-powered light from the charity SolarAid, or an amazing solar panel-making workshop with the organisation Demand Energy Equality in South London. Rewards vary according to donation amount.

Once there are solar panels on the first roof, SOAS will start the process of being powered by renewable energy, and will be the first to do so through community energy. SOAS will also be the first academic institution to take massive steps forward in their divestment process after promising to divest in 2015.

If you wish to make a donation*, please see this site: https://soas.hubbub.net/

*Donations will only be credited if enough money is raised for the project to go ahead.

Fun fact: The 114 solar panels to be installed on the SOAS Old Building will help cut carbon emissions equivalent to 10,264 kg per year – data from Joju Solar.

‘Absolutely thrilled to see the first university community energy project in the UK happening in our constituency. We hope this will lead the way for further similar projects around the country!’
– Keir Starmer, MP for Holborn & St. Pancras

‘It’s hard to balance living in London with caring about climate change – it can feel like there aren’t many options to help beyond recycling, the odd protest, and signing online petitions. Solar SOAS is a rare opportunity to actually be part of a solution lowering carbon emissions and increasing local awareness about energy systems and the environment. It’s also been created and set up by students, all out of care and concern for the future of the planet. It’s a pretty special thing to be involved with!’
– Hannah Short, Solar SOAS Co-founder

For more information on the project go to their website