Greater Manchester Community Renewables, a community benefit society, is aiming to raise £145,000 this month to fund the installation of solar panels on four Salford schools.
The schools involved in the project can expect to save money on their energy bills, and receive support to use the panels as an educational resource.
In 2016, GMCR raised £186,000 through a community share offer to install solar panels on the roofs of three schools in Salford and a community centre in Partington. So far these sites have saved a total of £3,000 on their bills and generated enough clean energy to make 6 million cups of Fairtrade tea.
Kate Eldridge, director of GMCR, said: “We were amazed by the support we received from the co-operative movement for our first share offer. Other co-ops, local and national bought shares, as well as co-operators who saw our story in Co-op News.”
Sandra Dutson, a member of GMCR said: “I invested in GMCR because it’s an ethical investment that helps schools save money on their bills and reduces carbon emissions. It also puts power into the hands of the community instead of big multi-national energy companies.”
Debbie Clarke, a member of worker co-op Unicorn Grocery, said: “We invested in GMCR because we’ve installed solar panels on the roof of our building and we wanted to support another society in our area generating clean energy.”
Mark Billsborough, head of hedging and renewables at Co-op Energy, said: “As the largest independent co-operative in the British energy sector, supporting projects like this is hugely important to us and our members, and shows what can be achieved when communities work together.
“This project not only enables schools to generate renewable electricity but allows those schools to engage the next generation about the importance of clean electricity.
“We then buy any surplus electricity generated, allowing customers who sign up to our dedicated Co-op Community Power tariff to benefit from this scheme, and around 50 others like it around Britain.”
GMCR’s share offer is open until 30 June 2018, with a minimum investment of £100 and a maximum of £20,000. Those interested in investing should read the share offer fully and take appropriate financial advice.