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Four Staffordshire schools set to benefit from solar co-op project



Four schools in the borough of Stafford are set to benefit from the largest school-based community energy project to date, which is aiming to install solar panels on 25 buildings across the county.

Co-operative group Gen Community and Southern Staffordshire Community Energy are jointly working on the project to benefit the local community. Both organisations are hosting a series of roadshows to promote the solar share offer.

The project aims to raise £880,000 with investors projected to see returns of around 6% per year. The Staffordshire Sunny Schools project has also received enterprise investment scheme (EIS) approval from HMRC, which allows investors to receive tax reliefs. With EIS relief included, investing returns are quoted as an internal rate of return of 10.48% per annum.

The project has also received backing from PureLeapfrog, the leading provider of social investment and professional support to community energy projects in the UK. The organisation has committed £200,000, its largest loan to date, to the project after conducting its own due diligence.

The project is set to run for 20 years with a projected 100% share capital buyback. The electricity generated from the solar panels will be supplied free to the schools involved, allowing them to invest in other areas.

Jeremy Lefroy, Conservative MP for Stafford, commented, “I am very pleased to be able to welcome this project to Stafford. Students will benefit, as their schools should be able to invest in other areas rather than on their electricity bills. Local residents will benefit, not just as council taxpayers but with the opportunity to invest and we all benefit with the advantages this whole project has for the environment.”

Further reading:

Solar co-operative seeks £880,000 for Staffordshire schools project

Solar co-op closes share offer after raising £450,000 from 98 investors

First solar panels installed by South Wales co-operative

Solar panels set for installation as co-operative hits funding threshold

Scottish solar industry reaches ‘significant’ 100MW milestone