Following a community share offer in summer 2023, local social enterprise Greater Manchester Community Renewables (GMCR) has installed the largest community-owned solar array in Greater Manchester at Wellington School in Timperley.

On World Environment Day 2023 (5 June) a share offer was launched with the aim of raising £350,000 in community investment. By 7 September the target had been reached and installation of the panels began during the Christmas break with the final section completed in February half term.

The school buildings are now home to 946 solar panels and will generate enough electricity each year to make over 16 million cups of tea [2]. The array, covering seven of the secondary school’s roofs, will reduce the school’s carbon footprint and save them thousands of pounds on their energy bills.

Wellington School

Stuart Beeley, Headteacher at Wellington School, said:

“The climate crisis is a key issue facing our society which will have a significant impact on the lives of our students. To be supplying classrooms and facilities with clean, renewable energy day-to-day is a fantastic achievement and testament to the hard work of everyone involved.

“Working with GMCR has not only made us more sustainable, we are also exploring how the solar array can be used in maths, geography and science lessons, as part of our mission to prepare our students for tomorrow’s global society.”

GMCR Director and Co-founder Kate Eldridge said:

“We’re really excited that this array is now up and running, and starting to help the school to save money and cut carbon.

“We want to say a huge thank you to everyone in the community who has invested in this project, and to the staff at Wellington School for their leadership and support throughout the process.

“It just goes to show what communities can achieve when we come together to tackle the climate crisis.”

GMCR now has solar arrays on ten sites. The arrays at their existing nine sites have collectively generated enough electricity to charge over 76 million smartphones, saved over £160,000 on their energy bills and prevented more than 350 tonnes of carbon emissions from polluting power stations. [3]

The solar array at Wellington School was funded through community shares purchased by 136 people and organisations, of which 83% are from Greater Manchester. This brings GMCR’s total membership to 328, who collectively own the solar arrays and decide how much of the profits to invest in new arrays or distribute as grants for eco-friendly projects.

To find out more about GMCR and any future share offers you can sign up for their newsletter at their website,


Notes to the editor

1. 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.

2. 16 million cups of tea is calculated based on estimated generation of 300,000kWh, and using an ‘average kettle’ of 2200 Watts and 1.7L which takes around 4 minutes to boil.

3. GMCR’s solar arrays have generated 1.5 million kWh of clean electricity to date.  76 million smartphones is calculated using a smartphone battery of 4000mAh using 0.02kWh to fully charge.

CO2 savings are calculated based on UK grid intensity for generation and transmission.

4. Installing a 388 kWp solar array at Wellington School has more than doubled the size of GMCR’s solar capacity (the existing 9 sites total c. 350kWp).  In the first full year of operation, we expect that our ten sites will:
–  generate 575,000 kWh of clean, green electricity
–  save approximately 80 tonnes of carbon dioxide