A novel competition in the UK gives primary schools the chance to win crowdfunded solar panels. The Run on Solar competition was launched by Friends of the Earth (FOE) on September 9, 2014. This campaign invites students to submit creative entries (eg art and film), that show why want their school to be powered by solar energy.
The winning school will be chosen by public vote at the start of the new year. This school will receive a solar installation free of charge funded by dedicated donations to the FOE. The winning entry will also be showcased in a gallery on FOE’s website.
Competition closes 15 December 2014 and the deadline for nominations is October 24, 2014.
“Solar panels are a win-win for schools and the environment – not to mention the kids,” said Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy campaigner Anna Watson in a statement. “As well as slashing electricity bills, they’re a great example of clean energy in action and tackling climate change. Whether it’s your children’s school, local school, or your old school from years gone by – nominate them today for the chance to win free solar panels.”
A spokeswoman for FOE added that it was seeking to raise £15,000 to support an installation at one winning school.
Solar panels help to defray costs by generating thousands of pounds every year for the school. According to FOE, a standard-sized school solar array can cut schools costs by around £8,000 a year, meaning they could repay a loan used to finance the initial installation and still be better off.
The education sector represents a major potential market for the solar industry, as schools typically have large rooftops that are suitable for arrays and rarely face planning objections.
The Run on Sun competition is part of a major new campaign from FOE that is calling on the government to allow schools to borrow funds to cover the upfront cost of installing a solar array. Current government regulations stop schools from borrowing to fund solar installations. FOE is actively calling on the Government to change this restriction.
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