Winter 2019 news

Latest installation
Our newest solar array at Broadoak Primary School was commissioned on 21 December 2018 and was switched on in February 2019.

Broadoak2 (resized)

This brings our total installed capacity to around 220 kWp across arrays at 5 schools and 1 community building.

Solar Performance
Our December meter readings show that our solar arrays have generated 237 MWh in total, saving around 75 tonnes CO2, which is roughly in line with expectations. About half of this was generated in 2018.

Changes to the Feed-in Tariff
You may have heard that the Feed-in Tariff is closing on 31 March 2019.  The Government has re-introduced pre-registration so any sites that we register before the end of March will be eligible for the remaining Feed-in Tariff funds if the sites are installed and registered within 12 months of the pre-registration application date.

We’re talking to a number of schools with a view to pre-registering some sites before the end the month.

COALESCCE European Project

In December, we presented to a group of European community energy experts about the challenges GMCR has faced, how we overcame them, and our view of confidence in the community energy sector.  We also contributed our views to the group as they considered recommendations for what Greater Manchester can do to support community energy locally.

Our Board would benefit from a director with legal expertise and a director with experience of community engagement and managing volunteers. Please get in touch if you are interested in joining.

Autumn 2018 news

New installation – Peel Hall Primary School

We’re delighted to share a photo of our new installation at Peel Hall Primary School. The panels were installed in the final two weeks of the summer holidays and commissioned in early September.

Peel Hall complete 1 cropped

The installation has generated 3,870kWh clean energy already! You can see the generation for this week here.

Our first four sites
Given the sunny weather we had this summer, our four existing sites – Fiddlers Lane Primary School, Irlam Primary School, Primrose Hill Primary School and The Fuse – have performed very well. Generation meter readings taken in September 2018 show that these sites have generated a whopping 218MWh between them since they were first installed in 2016 – that’s enough to make 12 million cups of tea!

Finance Director
GMCR is looking for a volunteer Finance Director to join our Board. Our day to day bookkeeping is outsourced; we are looking for someone who can support our strategic development with their financial knowledge and enthusiasm. The Board usually meets once a month either in person or by Skype.

Our neighbours, Carbon Co-op, community energy efficiency specialists based in Manchester, are also looking for a volunteer Treasurer. They would love to have someone on board who feels confident to have financial oversight of the co-op, advising the committee on all aspects of finance. There will be a small amount of monthly admin. Their bookkeeping is outsourced.

Please contact if you can help with either role. If you know someone who might be interested, please encourage them to get in touch

Big Clean Switch
If you haven’t switched your home energy to a green supplier yet, you can compare prices at our Big Clean Switch page and if you decide to switch, GMCR will receive a small commission payment.


Share offer update – Halfway there!

Share offer update

We are delighted to have reached the halfway point after just 10 days – we’ve now raised £75,325 towards our target of £145,000 to fund solar panels for four more primary schools.

We’ve been out promoting the share offer to make sure all four schools can have solar panels installed, and it’s great that we have been featured in the Salford Star, on Salford City Radio (listen again here) and On the Platform

Ali at PNR 9 June (small, cropped) Kate speaking at Basecamp (cropped)







Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be holding stalls at various events including the Lowry Makers Market, and attending the Community Energy England conference on 23 June.  Stop by and say hello if you see us!

Help promote the share offer

Please keep sharing our website and our video, and posting on Facebook and Twitter about the project.

Thanks for your support!

Share Offer update – A fantastic first week!

We were excited to open our new share offer on Tuesday and have been amazed by the support we’ve received for our project to install solar panels on four primary schools in Salford.

We’ve already received applications for over £50,000 of shares!  To be over one third of the way to our target by the end of week 1 is incredible – but there’s still a long way to go.

Visit our Invest page to find out how you can help us reach our £145,000 target.

This weekend we were out promoting the share offer at Envirolution festival, Friends of the Earth’s Basecamp weekend, and at Patagonia as part of the King Street festival.
Alice at Patagonia Envirolution


Come and see us?

We have lots of activity coming up to promote the share offer including joining in on a canal bike ride from Manchester to Worsley on 7 June, and Manchester Friends of the Earth’s meeting on 12 June on the theme of Powering the Future.

Share our share offer!

Finally, please continue to tell your friends and family about our share offer on Facebook, Twitter, or by sending them a link to our video.

Wishing you a very happy and healthy World Environment Day!

Invest in community-owned solar power today!

Greater Manchester Community Renewables is delighted to invite you to invest in our new community share offer to fund solar panels on four primary schools in Salford.

This will help them save money on their bills, reduce carbon emissions and help the children learn about energy and climate change – and profits from the scheme will go into a community fund to support eco-friendly projects in the local area.

With a minimum investment of £100, you could own a share of this exciting project.and earn share interest of up to 4% each year.

Invest in a brighter future for Greater Manchester

In 2016, people like you funded solar arrays at Irlam Primary School, Fiddlers Lane Primary School, Primrose Hill Primary School and The Fuse (a community centre in Partington).

GMCR's solar panelsGMCR’s solar sites

We’re now planning to install solar panels at Broadoak Primary School, Bridgewater Primary School, Light Oaks Infant & Junior Schools and Peel Hall Primary School.

By adding these schools to our project, we’ll be able to prevent more carbon pollution, as well as generating an estimated £130,000 of energy bill savings and a £150,000 community fund over the life of the project.

Find out how you can join the clean energy revolution

By investing in GMCR you not only help our schools go solar, you’ll also receive annual interest payments of 2.5% to 4% and get your original investment back by the end of the 20 year project (subject to performance).

To find out more, please visit:

We look forward to welcoming you as a member of Greater Manchester Community Renewables.


irlam-schools-go-solarCelebrating the solar installations in Irlam, 2016

Press Release – GMCR joins forces with the Big Clean Switch

New project could save residents hundreds of pounds a year while supporting local renewable energy schemes

  • A typical home can save over £300 a year switching to the cheapest green tariff
  • The scheme will also raise money for local renewable energy projects
  • Greater Manchester Community Renewables is one of four projects in national pilot


180214 - GMCR - Email header

A new project is hoping to raise money for local renewable energy schemes whilst saving residents hundreds of pounds a year on their energy bills.

A typical home can save more than £300 a year switching to the cheapest green tariffs.[i]

Greater Manchester Community Renewables (GMCR), the group behind the scheme, says it wants to make it as easy as possible for residents to switch to renewable electricity – and save money in the process.

The project has established a dedicated website – – where residents can compare the price of different renewable tariffs. [ii] The organisers claim it takes less than 10 minutes to get a quote and switch.

As well as helping local residents to save money, the project will raise cash for local renewable electricity projects by channelling 25% of the commission paid by green suppliers back to GMCR.[iii] GMCR director Kate Eldridge says the money will be used to help put solar panels on more local schools.

Eldridge said, “Switching to renewable electricity is a great way to help tackle climate change, but most people don’t realise it could also save them money.”

GMCR already operates a number of local green energy projects, which retain the profits from generating renewable energy within the community.[iv] Now they want to help people switch to renewable electricity providers in their own homes.

For an average home in Greater Manchester, the cheapest green tariffs available through the campaign are now within £15 to £25 of the very cheapest tariffs on the market, and hundreds of pounds cheaper than the average standard tariff with one of the country’s Big Six suppliers.[v] Recent Ofgem figures show 60% of UK homes are on a default variable tariff.[vi]

GMCR is one of four community projects taking part in a national pilot which aims to demonstrate the power of community groups as a positive force for change. Another Greater Manchester group – Oldham Community Power – is also taking part.

The national scheme is a partnership between the Big Clean Switch campaign[vii] and Project Dirt[viii], an umbrella organisation for community projects.

The Big Clean Switch is already working with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, but organisers say that while that project communicates through councils and local businesses, the new scheme is designed to work at a local level.

Big Clean Switch director Jon Fletcher said, “Community projects like GMCR have a track record in talking to local residents about environmental issues. Who better to help people save money by switching to renewable electricity?”

If successful, the organisers hope the model can be replicated in towns and cities across the country.


BBC stall 600x450


[i] Typical saving calculated on 6 February 2018 by comparing an average usage dual fuel household on a Big Six Standard Variable Tariff (£1,135) with the cheapest tariff supplying 100% renewable electricity available through the Big Clean Switch website (£834). All prices are for a single rate meter paying by monthly direct debit, with prices averaged across all regions of England, Scotland and Wales. Average usage as defined by Ofgem is 12,000 kWh pa of gas and 3,100 kWh pa of electricity.

[ii] Suppliers offering green tariffs promise that the electricity used by a home will be matched by the same amount of renewable electricity going into the National Grid. Renewable electricity is power sourced from the sun, wind, water (rivers, waves and tides) and some biofuels.

[iii] Every time someone switches energy supplier through this campaign, the supplier pays Big Clean Switch a commission. This doesn’t affect the tariffs offered, which are the same price or cheaper as you’d find on the suppliers’ own websites. Big Clean Switch uses some of the money to help fund its national campaign, and shares some with its delivery partners.


[v] The cheapest open market tariff for a Greater Manchester postcode on 13 February 2018 was £811 a year for a medium consumption dual fuel household on a single rate meter paying by monthly direct debit. This compares with £828 a year for the cheapest comparable tariff available through the Big Clean Switch.

[vi] Ofgem figures sourced from its 2017 State of the Market Report:

[vii] Big Clean Switch is part of Brakkn Ltd, a ‘profit with purpose’ company with a commitment to channel part of its profits to good causes both through the commission it shares with partners and through a corporate commitment to give at least 5% of its remaining profit to climate related causes.

[viii] Project Dirt is the UK’s most active network connecting and resourcing community projects. It receives 8% of the commission paid by suppliers when someone switches, after the costs of processing the switch have been deducted.

Naturesave gives GMCR grant for new site feasibility work

GMCR is planning a further round of solar installations for summer 2018. Before we can launch a community share offer to raise money for more solar installations, we need to check that the sites are suitable e.g. by commissioning a structural survey of the roof, and doing legal due diligence on the properties before we enter into a lease of the roof.

We would like to thank The Naturesave Trust for providing a grant of £1,500 towards these development costs, so that more schools in Salford can benefit from solar panels. 

If you’re interested in following the development of the new sites, or would like to receive a copy of GMCR’s new share offer when it is published, please get in touch or sign up for our newsletter on our home page.

You can find out more about The Naturesave Trust at their website:  Environmental, Conservation and Community Renewable Energy Grants provided by the Naturesave Trust

The Naturesave Trust is funded by the activities of Naturesave Insurance, the UK’s leading ethical insurance provider for individuals, businesses, charities and community groups.


Naturesave logo

Autumn Update

Solar Performance
Exciting News! Generation meter readings taken towards the end of the September 2017 show total solar generation of over 100 MWh since installation across the four sites!

Other news
We spoke at a European Energy Democracy convergence about how we used community shares to raise funds to install solar panels.  They have made a great video about the event.

We also took part in a stakeholder panel on sustainability for Electricity North West (ENW).  ENW look after the electricity cables in the North West area.  They shared updates about the roll out of Smart Meters, and a project they are planning to help people use electricity more efficiently (so that ENW don’t have to upgrade cables to meet increasing demand for electricity).  Good to see they have an incentive to help people look after the environment and their bills!

Summer Update

Fiddlers Lane

It’s official!

The solar installation on the roof of Fiddlers Lane Primary School now belongs to GMCR.

You may recall that GMCR lent Moss Community Energy the money to install solar panels at Fiddlers Lane Primary School. It was always their intention to transfer the site to GMCR and we are pleased to confirm that all the paperwork was completed by GMCR, Moss Community Energy, the school and Salford City Council with effect from 20 June. It’s great that Fiddlers Lane is now formally a GMCR partner.

Welcome Fiddlers Lane!


Solar Performance

It was exciting to see the solar panels working well on the sunny days we had in June and as we approached the longest day of the year. If you have been following us on social media, you will have seen our record day so far…

Tweet from 20 June

Generation meter readings taken towards the end of the June 2017 show total generation of 59,657kWh since installation across the four sites, almost triple the amount generated towards the end of March. With The Fuse now generating and the longer days, it has made a big difference! Maybe we’ll be celebrating 100 MWh later this year?

We are working with Manchester Environmental Education Network (MEEN) to amplify the educational benefits of the solar panels on our school sites. In June, MEEN supported Key Stage 1 children at Fiddlers Lane Primary School take part in an environment-themed assembly.

June also saw the start of Community Energy Fortnight, and we took part in a few of the events, including the Community Energy national conference which was held in Manchester this year.

Could you be our Finance Director?

Greater Manchester Community Renewables Ltd is a volunteer led community business which has installed solar panels on three schools and a community centre in our area. We help our site partners save money on their energy bills, whilst also reducing carbon emissions and generating a community fund from our profits to spend on further eco-friendly projects around the sites.

We are recruiting a volunteer Finance Director to strengthen our Board. The right candidate will have a strong finance background and be enthusiastic about helping their community and the environment.

While our day to day bookkeeping is outsourced, this will be a hands on role, as we explore how we can grow. The Board meets once a month either in person or by Skype but this could change depending on circumstances. We also appreciate that when taking on a volunteer role, real life can take over from time to time!

You can find out more about GMCR on our website including our 2016 share offer, which sets out our 20 year financial model. If you are interested, please email