School Aims to Invest in Solar Energy

A comprehensive school in North Oxford is looking to local residents to invest in the power of the sun, as they attempt to raise enough funds to enable the school to reap the benefits of solar energy.

The Oxford North Community Renewables (Oncore) group is aiming to raise £145,000 to buy 250 photovoltaic panels, which will be capable of generating enough power for the whole school. With £65,000 raised to date, the group is looking to residents and parents to buy shares in the project.

The capital raised through the share offer is intended to fund the installation of at least 50kWp of solar panels on suitable roofs at the Cherwell School in Oxford. The installation will include one or more interactive visual displays, which will help to raise awareness of climate change and energy use.

It has been estimated that solar PV installation will save around 22 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year through displacing fossil-fuel generated electricity use at the school.

A total of 2,000 shares are available and investors can put in anything from £500 to £20,000 between now and the end of July. The group hopes to have the solar panels installed by the start of the school’s autumn term in September. The panels will be bought outright and the scheme will benefit from the Government's feed-in tariff scheme, which pays the generator for any surplus electricity sold on to the National Grid.

ONCORE chairman Sam Clark said the project had received a lot of interest and that the idea of the project “is not only to reduce carbon emissions but to generate more cash to carry out further schemes."

The ONCORE group is also in discussions with other building owners and occupiers in North Oxford and has plans to develop further projects to install solar PV on other large roofs in North Oxford.

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