Solar SOAS launches Crowdfunding for UK's first University community energy project!




Solar SOAS, based at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London
is the first University community energy project of its kind in the UK. The project
aims to get solar panels installed on the unused roofs of the university, starting with
the roofs of the SOAS Old Building. This student-run project is launching its first
ever fundraising drive - an amazing opportunity for students, staff, alumni and friends
of the university and renewable energy to help get this worthwhile project off the
ground and join the green power revolution!

Funds will go towards purchasing and installing 114 solar panels, with the aim of
finishing the install by late September. Generous funding for the project is also
coming from the urban community energy fund (UCEF), SOAS itself, and the SOAS
Students Union - but it’s up to the SOAS community to contribute the rest, which
will make it a project we all have a stake in.

‘Solar SOAS is an excellent step towards our clean energy future, and something we
should all support in whatever way we can!’

- Caroline Russell, London Assembly
Green Party Group lead on energy and the environment

‘We are really excited that Solar SOAS is fundraising for solar! At 10:10 we’ve
focused on projects for schools but there is also a huge amount of untapped potential
at universities, so it’s great to see this going ahead and being run by students. It’s a
particularly good opportunity to show that many people, especially the younger
generation, are willing to do whatever they can to fight climate change, no matter the
state of the political climate.’

- Amy Cameron, 10:10 Director of Operations

Community energy projects are a revolutionary way to get the local community
involved and engaged in renewable energy generation. Solar SOAS will provide clean
energy for roughly 20 years to be used by SOAS, cutting both carbon emissions and
fuel bills. The panels will generate additional funds through the Feed-in Tariff over
this 20 year period, which will be owned and controlled by the SOAS community, and
it will be up to them to decide what future green initiatives these funds will support.

Why is Solar SOAS different? Solar SOAS is one of the first instances of a
community energy initiative being set up and led by students - not only proving that
the current and next generation want to help fight climate change, but they can.
Solar SOAS aims to raise £20,000 in donations from the SOAS community. In
addition to feeling good about being part of the climate solution (yes!), donors will
also have the option of choosing from a selection of amazing eco-friendly rewards on
offer. These range from practical tote bags and water bottles, to handwritten ‘Thank
You!’ postcards from the Solar SOAS team, cool t-shirts, a solar-powered light from
the charity SolarAid, or an amazing solar panel-making workshop with the
organisation Demand Energy Equality in South London. Rewards vary according to
donation amount.

Once there are solar panels on the first roof, SOAS will start the process of being
powered by renewable energy, and will be the first to do so through community
energy. Not only that, SOAS will be the first academic institution to take massive
steps forward in their divestment process after promising to divest in 2015.

If you wish to make a donation*, please check out this site:

*Donations will only be credited if enough money is raised for the project to go ahead.

Fun fact: The 114 solar panels to be installed on the SOAS Old Building will help cut
carbon emissions equivalent to 10,264 kg per year - data from Joju Solar.

‘Absolutely thrilled to see the first university community energy project in the UK
happening in our constituency. We hope this will lead the way for further similar
projects around the country!’

- Keir Starmer, MP for Holborn & St. Pancras

‘It’s hard to balance living in London with caring about climate change - it can feel
like there aren’t many options to help beyond recycling, the odd protest, and signing
online petitions. Solar SOAS is a rare opportunity to actually be part of a solution
lowering carbon emissions and increasing local awareness about energy systems and
the environment. It’s also been created and set up by students, all out of care and
concern for the future of the planet. It’s a pretty special thing to be involved with!’

- Hannah Short, Solar SOAS Co-founder

Here is a video to promote our crowdfunding drive, which you can check out at:

About UniSolar & Solar SOAS
Solar SOAS is the brainchild of the SOAS Energy and Climate Justice Society, and
came into existence in 2014 as a way for students to take local action against climate
change. UniSolar Limited was set up as a Community Benefit Society (BenComm),
with the aim of bringing this type of project to universities across the UK, with Solar
SOAS as our pilot project. In March 2015 Solar SOAS were finalists in the Mayor of
London Low Carbon Entrepreneur Award, and we also won £500 through the SOAS
Ignite fund. In November 2015 we were awarded £20,000 from the urban community
energy fund (UCEF) to get our project going. We are now just around the corner
from purchasing and getting solar panels installed - which is where you come in.

Please help make Solar SOAS a reality and get in touch!