Greater Manchester Community Renewables (GMCR) is a community benefit society, set up and run by volunteers to create community-owned renewable energy across Greater Manchester.
It launched a campaign to raise £186,000, originally by the end of June, to install solar panels at three schools in Salford - Primrose Hill Primary School in Ordsall, Irlam Primary School and Fiddlers Lane Primary School in Irlam (working in partnership with Moss Community Energy, set up in the wake of the Barton Moss anti-fracking movement to produce energy alternatives). It was also aiming to install solar panels at The Fuse community hub in Partington.
So far, £137,000 has been raised and GMCR is having a final push to hit its full target by Thursday this week, July 7th.
The way it works is that, for a minimum of £100 investment, members of the public or businesses become members of GMCR, and receive share interest, projected to be 3.5% in 2018, rising to 5% by 2024.*
Meanwhile, once the solar panels are installed, the sites benefit from lower electricity bills and a lower carbon footprint as a result of the clean energy being generated from their rooftops. They will also receive educational support to help children and members of the community to learn about energy and climate change. Any surpluses generated from the scheme will be put into a community fund and used to support eco-friendly projects in the local area.
"Community energy isn't just about doing something positive for the environment" explains Ali Abbas, Director of GMCR "It's also about breaking the control of the big energy companies and putting power back in the hands of local people.
"Installing renewable energy can also help ease the financial pressure on schools and community groups by saving them money on their bills and generating funding for eco-friendly projects in the local area" he adds "And community energy is a great way of inspiring children and adults alike to learn more where their energy comes from, and how it's connected to carbon emissions and climate change. We need your support to make this happen Ė by pledging, by donating, or by investing and becoming a shareholder in a project."
GMCR is modelled on the success stories of other community energy projects, including Bath and West Community Energy, which provided peer mentorship support.
"We're really excited to be part of this project" says Elaine Darwin, Head Teacher at Irlam Primary School "The solar panels will not only save us money on our energy bills, they will also be a great resource to help children and grown-ups learn about where our energy comes from and what it means for the environment."
*Please check the financial details with someone from GMCR before signing up!
For further details, share offer documents etc see www.gmcr.org.uk/invest