Leominster Community Solar School

Project

Leominster Community Solar School

Organisation

Leominster Sunrise Co-op

Summary

Building on the success of (and led by members and directors of) Leominster Community Solar, Leominster Sunrise Co-operative is a group of local people who will wholly own the solar array for the 20 year life of this specific project involving the installation of a 90kW solar array on several roofs of the new primary school in Leominster.

Leominster Community Solar was one of the very first solar co-operatives in the UK and the first of four (as of 2015) in Herefordshire. LCS were supported by Sharenergy, a not-for-profit organisation which helps communities find, build and own renewable energy generation throughout the UK.

Aims

  • To generate electricity and save carbon for the new primary school.
  • Raise sufficient funds through a share offer.

Challenges

This was the first co-operatively owned solar array going on a new build in the UK. The installation has had to proceed in stages to fit in with the building construction process.

Meeting aims/Overcoming challenges

The installation worked inline with the construction process, with the panels and mounting systems having been installed in January/February 2014 and the internal cabling and inverters following in late May to early June.

Adequate funds were raised by community share issue and there are 73 members.

Results

  • Expected to produce around 76,600 kWh a year, which will save approximately 33 tonnes of CO2 a year.
  • School hopes to be able to make use of between 50-100% of the solar electricity, which will be sold to them at half the price they would normally pay.
  • Estimate savings of between £2,600 and £5,200 a year on their energy bills.
  • The switch will coincide with the start of the new academic year, in September 2014.

Learning Points

The share offer was oversubscribed by over 40% providing a great opportunity to ask for suggestions for the next project in Hereford.

SWM Comment

We commend the efforts of Leominster Sunrise Co-op as the first co-operatively owned solar array on a new build in the UK, and the benefits the project will bring to the school.

Contact

Jon Halle or for further details, visit Leominster Sunrise Co-op’s website.