4 simple steps to go solar

1. Analyse

To see what solar power could do for your school, simply enter its name or postcode in the search box on our home page and then select your school from the list. Initial calculations are based on publicly available data and our experience with hundreds of schools reviewed so far.

The initial analysis can be refined, using our free online tools to:

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  • Review the roofs to determine available space.
  • Enter the school's actual electricity consumption.
  • Update the price currently paid for mains electricity.
  • Compare different system sizes and funding options.

Register the school and we will work with the school's team or you can run the project as a student led project as part of our Solar Ambassadors programme.

No money needed
There is no charge or commitment at this stage. Using our online tools over 24,000 schools in England and Wales can easily compare different size systems and financing options allowing each school to optimise their future savings from solar energy.

At the end of this step, a school will have all it needs to decide on its preferred system size and funding option. The school then signs our T&Cs and we proceed to step 2.

2. Survey

Before the system can be built, a number of detailed surveys need to be completed to confirm that the system sizes we have chosen can be successfully installed.

Unless the school has chosen to fund the entire project themselves, we cover these costs at our risk. If we discover the solar panel installation cannot proceed, there are no costs for your school.

During the survey stage we will:

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  1. Submit grid applications to check grid capacity and resulting system size.
  2. Review your current annual consumption in detail to determine how much of it will be covered by the solar panels.
  3. Complete structural surveys to check suitability of the roofs.
  4. Commission an energy survey known as an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate).
  5. Organise installer site visits to ensure there are no surprises later.
  6. Prepare designs that conform to planning regulations (excludes listed buildings).

Assuming surveys results are as expected, we will confirm with your school that the installation can go ahead.

3. Install

The installation is then paid for by either a Community Benefit Society, the school or a combination of the two. See funding for more details.

To ensure schools get the best possible solar panel system at the lowest cost while meeting the specific needs of schools (safety & procurement rules) we:

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  • Only use installers with a strong track record of working in schools, who are DBS cleared and aware of the special care and attention that is required to work within the school gates.
  • Select installation dates that suit your school to minimise disruption and give you peace of mind.
  • Have insurance in place to cover up to £10,000,000 for any damages or costs related to the installation of the solar panels.
  • Negotiate volume discounts with our installation partners that more than cover our project management costs.
  • Source core components directly from manufacturers who offer us special educational discounts or via partners who have volume discounts to minimise total project costs
  • Constantly compare our total system prices against direct quotes from local installers to ensure lowest costs.
  • Quality check the work independently, before connecting the systems to the grid and commissioning.
  • Arrange all the paperwork to ensure the owner receives any subsides at the best rates.

NOTE: If actual installation costs are below our initial forecast, either the total price the school pays for the system or the electricity price they pay for the solar power will be reduced accordingly. If the costs are higher, we cover the difference.

4. Operate

Solar panel systems are designed to run for many years so it is easy to forget they are there. Increasingly we find schools with systems that have not been running for years, as they stopped working at some point and nobody noticed.

In order to ensure your system continues to be safe, operate and deliver the expected savings to the school, we:

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  • Install 3 way metering to measure the school's electricity import, export and generation.
  • Install internet-based communications connected to inverters, modules and meters.
  • Remotely monitor each system’s performance daily.
  • Perform diagnostic checks on any underperforming system to identify issues and rectify them as quickly as possible.
  • Co-ordinate technical inspections, manage warranty claims and replace faulty equipment as needed.
  • Visually inspect each system at least once every 3 years and perform any corrective actions if needed. i.e. cleaning or replacing cables.

In addition, by collecting the school's energy generation, import and export data we provide:

  • Our educational programme, Energy Detectives, where students learn about solar energy and can interact with real data and charts to see how the school consumes and generates electricity, identify further savings and think about the challenges of living more sustainably.
  • Energy management tools to business managers, where the school can now monitor their electricity consumption in real time, compare periods and asses the impact of additional energy measures such as LED, heat pumps, batteries, demand management etc. (under development).
  • Feed-in-Tariff, electricity export collection and electricity billing on behalf of the school or CBS to ensure correct and timely revenue collection.

Who pays for the operations and maintenance?

If the system is paid for by funding organised by us, then the Community Benefit Society pay. The school does not.

If the system is owned by the school, then the school will pay for its maintenance out of its income.

At the end of our contract we can continue to provide operations and maintenance services if your school wishes us to do so but that is for a future management team to decide.