SOAS becomes first community energy university

Wednesday 02-11-2016 - 16:30

Student society Solar SOAS has completed a crowdfunding drive and installed on-site solar panels, marking the first ‘community energy’ project at a higher education institution in the UK.

Having raised £22,000 in around two months, student group Solar SOAS has successfully installed 114 solar panels on the roof of their university building.

The new panels will not only cut emissions, but also raise awareness of renewable energy and generate around £2,000 a year for a community fund.

‘Community energy’ is a growing movement across Europe, and means that energy is produced locally for the benefit of the community.

Funds were raised from SOAS itself, the students’ union and individual donors, and Solar SOAS co-founder Hannah Short said that crowdfunding the project provided “a rare opportunity for interested stakeholders to become part of a climate solution".

SOAS Director Valerie Amos said: "I am always impressed by the commitment of SOAS students to engage with the pressing issues facing our world today. Solar SOAS is an excellent example of our students taking a constructive and positive approach to tackling one of the great challenges of our time - climate change."

Solar SOAS also set up UniSolar Limited as an FCA-registered Community Benefit Society to promote community energy among higher education institutions.

Isobel Annan, Co-founder of Solar SOAS and Co-Director of UniSolar Limited, said: “We overcame many obstacles and met some hair-raising deadlines over the past two years, as full-time students and alumni endeavouring to do something green and good in a challenging policy environment. Community energy grows from and builds the power of the community, in all kinds of communities, from urban council housing estates to rural villages, and now universities.”

They will now look to build on the success of this project and to inspire and support similar projects around the country.


Features, Sustainability

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