The dark winter nights may be drawing in, but there will be a slice of sunshine at the official launch of a community solar scheme for two Salford schools.

On Monday 21st November at 12:30pm at Hamilton Davies House on Liverpool Road, Irlam, the Mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett, will launch the scheme which has seen almost 60kW of solar panels installed on Irlam and Fiddlers Lane Primary Schools by a local renewable energy society, Greater Manchester Community Renewables (GMCR). The funding for the scheme was raised from local people who bought shares in GMCR, and will help the two schools save money on their electricity bills.

Elaine Darwin, Head Teacher at Irlam Primary School, said, “We are absolutely delighted with the solar panels, which were installed free of charge by GMCR.  Renewable energy spans many aspects of the school curriculum and the solar installation helps to bring this to life – the pupils loved the assembly a couple of weeks ago when the installer explained how the panels were installed.”

Ann McQuirk, Business Manager at Fiddlers Lane Primary School, said, “We were pleased to be able to use our roof to support this project.  Not only will it save us a few pounds on our electricity bills which we can spend on education instead, it will also support the wider community through the profits it generates. ”

The Mayor will launch the scheme with the cutting of a large cake in the shape of the sun. Supported by Salford City Council, it is hoped that there will be future phases of the scheme despite cuts to Government support for solar power.

The Mayor Paul Dennett said, “I am delighted to be able to launch this scheme, which I hope will be the first of many similar schemes here in Salford. Putting the community at the heart of our future energy supply will be absolutely essential in ensuring a quality environment for our children’s future.”

The solar installations were completed over the summer holidays by Oldham based electrical firm, NPS Solar.  Ben Nuttall, Director, said “NPS Solar is proud to have won the contract to work on this community energy project.  Not only will installing solar panels generate more green electricity, it will also generate awareness of the benefits of renewable energy within the local community.”

“We are so grateful for the support of the schools, the Council and, of course, our members who invested.” said Kate Eldridge, a Director of GMCR. “Together we have delivered a project which will not only help to tackle climate change but will also benefit the community and help the next generation learn about solar power.”


Note to editors

Greater Manchester Community Renewables Limited (GMCR) is a community benefit society, set up and run by volunteers to install community-owned renewable energy across Greater Manchester.

GMCR has raised £186,000 through a community share offer, funding the installation of solar panels at three schools in Salford, (Irlam Primary School, Fiddlers Lane Primary School and Primrose Hill Primary School) and a community hub in Trafford (The Fuse, Partington).

GMCR projects that overall it will

  • Save 50 tonnes carbon dioxide in the first year of operation
  • Over 20 years, provide combined energy bill savings of almost £50,000 to the sites
  • Generate a total Community Fund of over £50,000 to be used in the areas around the sites for future eco-friendly initiatives

For more information, see:

Four installations completed!

We have completed four solar installations over the summer holidays and have submitted the Feed-in Tariff applications.

Fiddlers Lane Primary School – installed in partnership with Moss Community Energy


Primrose Hill Primary School, Salford


Irlam Primary School


The Fuse, Partington


Panels are going up on our sites

Over the summer holidays our installers have been hard at work installing panels. Here are some photos of the first installations:

Solar panels on a roof

Solar panels and the sunshine

Solar panels on a roof

It’s all systems go!

After a hectic few weeks of negotiations, we finally got the leases signed on Friday!

This was a crucial step as it meant that we could issue shares and start spending the money that our members have invested.

We wasted no time in making the first payment to our installer, NPS Solar, who are lined up to start work on the first installation next week.

We now have less than two months remaining to install panels on our four sites to meet that all important Feed-in Tariff deadline of 29 September 2016.

So while we’ve reached an important milestone, there is still lots to do before the celebrations can begin!


Getting closer…

Just a quick note to let you know where we’re up to with the leases for our solar project.

We’ve made good progress since our last update:

  • We reached an agreement with Salford City Council today on the content of the leases for the schools, and the Mayor has given his authorisation for the leases to be signed.
  • The final draft of the lease for The Fuse is being prepared, and is awaiting the consent it needs from a third party before it can be signed off.

While we’re getting closer, the leases haven’t been signed on the dotted line yet and so we haven’t released the funds from our investors today – as outlined in our share offer, we will only do so when the agreements have been secured.

Thanks for bearing with us, and we’ll update you again as soon as we have any more news.

We did it!

We’re delighted to announce that we reached our Optimum Share Offer target of £186,000 on Tuesday morning and we have therefore closed the Share Offer to new applications.

Thanks so much to everyone who has invested and all of you who made the time to promote the project and share it with your contacts!

We did it_440x220

What happens next?

We’re still working hard to finalise the legal agreements we need to put in place before we can release the funds, order the equipment and start the installations.

We’ll update you again soon…


In sight of the finish line…


Since our last update at the end of June, the response has been amazing!

We rocketed past the £140,000 minimum target needed to install solar panels on three sites – Primrose Hill Primary School in Ordsall, Irlam Primary School and The Fuse in Partington – and we’re now closing in on our optimum target of £186,000, which would enable us to fund panels at Fiddlers Lane in Irlam too.

The total investment pledged to date is over £173,000, and we’ve decided to extend the closing date a bit further to ensure that Fiddlers Lane doesn’t miss out – check out our Crowdfunder page to see how we’re getting on!

Recent activity

We’ve been working closely with our partners at Salford City Council and The Fuse on the leases and electricity supply agreements to make sure we have the legal permissions to install the panels and provide our electricity to the sites at a discounted price.

We have also kept up the promotional work with talks at the “No Planet B” festival event organised by Bolton Friends of the Earth, and stalls in Altrincham and at a festival on Kersal Moor in Salford.


Next steps

We’re looking forward to concluding the legal documents so we can accept the first £140,000 of pledges and start the installation process.

In the meantime, we have a little more time to continue our fundraising for the solar panels at Fiddlers Lane Primary School, the fourth site which we’re working on with Moss Community Energy.

If you know anyone who’s been thinking of investing, please do remind them to get their application in via our Crowdfunder page before it’s too late!

One day, one week, one quarter

First of all  – WOW! We have raised over £137,000 including offline investments.  Thank you to everyone who has invested, volunteered their time and/or shared the project with friends – you are amazing.


One day

With just one day left until our published closing date of 30 June, we are so close to our minimum target of £140,000.  Reaching our minimum target will be brilliant as it means we’ll be one step closer to installing solar panels at Irlam Primary, Primrose Hill Primary in Ordsall and at The Fuse in Partington.


One week

However, unless we meet the Optimum target we won’t be able to help Moss Community Energy install solar panels at Fiddlers Lane Primary School in Irlam.  That’s why we have decided to extend the Share Offer for one week to try to meet our Optimum target of £186,000 – so the new closing date is 7 July.

Let’s get behind them by funding a great low carbon, money saving, educational resource for the children and teachers there.

Fiddlers Lane 600x390

One quarter

Looking ahead, it is now three months until our deadline to install and register the solar panels with Ofgem so we can get the higher level of Feed-in Tariff (the payment for generating clean electricity) from last year. This is why we need to install the panels in the school summer holidays, so we are on a tight timeline to raise the funds, order the panels and get our legal ducks in a row in time to start work when the children are safely offsite.

Thanks for all your support, and let’s see if we can reach the £186,000 mark by next Thursday!

We’re over half way there!

Great news – we have passed the half way mark to our minimum target!

Including offline investments, we’ve raised over £80,000 – a massive thank you to all of you who have invested so far!

With less than a week left, it’s time to remind everyone who’s been thinking about investing in our project to help schools, the environment and the local community, to do so right away.

So please take a look at the Share Offer if you haven’t already, and ask three friends to do the same. We have put some suggested wording you can use at the end of this update. And of course, please keep sharing our Crowdfunder page on social media.

Our programme of publicity is continuing right up to the 30 June deadline. Yesterday we gave a presentation at a Nuclear Free Local Authorities event, and today we were pleased to be promoting our project at the Rixton with Glazebrook Carnival, just down the road from two of our schools in Irlam.

Rixton with Glazebrook Carnival


Upcoming events

Tomorrow, we’ll be at Altrincham Market from 11am to talk to shoppers about installing panels at The Fuse, a great community facility in nearby Partington.

And don’t forget to book for our community energy meet-up, which starts at 6.30pm on Tuesday 28 June at the Castle Hotel on Oldham Street in Manchester city centre.

Thanks for your support, and we hope to see some of you on Tuesday!


Example email to send to your friends

Have you heard about GMCR’s solar project?

Greater Manchester Community Renewables and Moss Community Energy have joined forces to fund the installation of solar panels at 3 primary schools – Primrose Hill in Ordsall, Irlam Primary & Fiddlers Lane in Irlam – and The Fuse, a community building in Partington.

This will save them money, reduce carbon emissions and inspire children (and grown-ups!) to learn about energy and climate change – and surpluses will go into a Community Fund to support eco-friendly projects in the local area.

GMCR is raising the money to fund the project via a community share offer. Individuals and businesses can invest between £100 and £20,000, and investors will receive share interest of up to 5% per year, depending on the performance of the Society.

The share offer is due to close on Thursday 30 June, so please visit GMCR’s Crowdfunder page at as soon as you can and help all four sites get their solar panels.

Happy Summer Solstice!

It’s Summer Solstice and Co-operatives Fortnight, so what better time than to invest in a community-owned solar project aiming to:

  • install solar panels on 3 schools and a community hub, saving them money on their bills;
  • generate over 100,000 kWh of clean electricity per year, helping to reduce carbon emissions;
  • create an income stream in the form of a Community Fund for future eco-friendly projects;
  • provide you with a projected return of up to 5% each year.

We’ve been busy promoting the project at various events, including the Makers Market in Spinningfields and Manchester Museum’s Climate Control exhibition, where we met this fellow…

Museum 400x300

Upcoming events

Next weekend, we’ll be at the Rixton with Glazebrook Carnival in Hollins Green from 11am on Saturday 25 June. Let us know if you’d like to come along and help out.

We’ve also organised a community energy meet-up on Tuesday 28 June at the Castle Hotel, Oldham Street in the Northern Quarter in Manchester city centre, from 6.30pm. All welcome!

10 days to go!

We’re pleased to have reached over £66,000 (including offline subscriptions), which is almost half way to our Minimum target.

Thanks so much to everyone who has supported us – from those who have invested, to those who have shared our story with friends and contacts.

Please do keep spreading the word, and consider investing if you can!