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Solar in UK Schools

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By Zachary

solar in uk schoolsThis is a really fun new development in the UK. Climate activist group 10:10 is behind it, but really, it’s all about local communities.

The short story: 10:10 has created a website, Solar Schools, where people can easily donate as little as £5 to put solar panels on a local school’s roof.

The organization creates a webpage for each school involved that shows who has donated (unless you want to remain anonymous) and how much, by replacing some of the solar cells with donor photos, names, and statements from them (when you hover over their tile).

Businesses can also get a link to their website on their panel. Here’s a screenshot of the New Christ Church Primary School page as an example (but more fun to just go poke around there):

Of course, this gives parents and neighbors an opportunity to increase the eco-friendliness of their kids’ schools. It also creates a positive way for businesses to give back and get recognition (and more business) for doing so.

And we all know, peer pressure works. If you see the faces of a few friends on the school’s solar panel roof site, you feel more inclined to donate and help fund the clean energy future as well.

The solar power the school’s panels generate will also cut the school’s electricity bill considerably and save it money to put into more educational programs and resources.

I think this is a total win and hope to see it spread across Europe, across the ocean to the U.S., and elsewhere.

As the website states:

“Each pound you give will generate up to £3 for the school in clean, green energy. Your good deed will be celebrated on the website with a photo to show which part of the solar roof you supported. And you’ll get a warm sunny glow from knowing your community has come together to kick-start a renewable energy revolution.”

Solar costs have come down tremendously in recent years, and even this year alone, and government rebates bring the price down even more, making such programs not only environmentally friendly but also financial common sense.

Joining solar leasing, group solar discount options (also recently new to the UK), community solar movements, and all sorts of cool solar technologies, this program is one more creative way of making solar power mainstream.

…and that’s a much-needed shift. Even though solar costs have been on the decline, it’s still not anywhere close to being considered a viable, realistic, and mainstream source of energy. In fact, the UK recently had a nuclear power vs renewable energy throw-down that ended up going in a surprising direction.

What’s not to love about a program like this? Can you think of any other creative ways to move solar energy into the mainstream?