Community Energy Schools

Community energy in the South East is a great success story and this report demonstrates how the combined hard work from within the communities has helped local schools save money on energy and inspire future generations


84 Community Schools

1265 Estimated Tonnes
Carbon Saved/Yr*


Schools Powered by Community Energy

Since 2012 community energy groups have been working with schools at an increasing rate to install community energy, educate the next generation in climate emergency and encourage young people to participate in the transition to a people-powered future.

This report illustrates the number of community energy groups who have installed community energy or energy saving measures in schools. It also talks about educational outreach which has reached thousands of young people

How does it work?

Schools lend their roofs to community energy groups. In return the groups provide renewable energy to the schools at a lower pice than the schools are buying their energy

How is it funded?

Community energy groups fund the scheme through community share offers offering local people the chance to invest. A community energy scheme normally works for up to 25  years.

Could this work for Community buildings?

Absolutely. The same principals could be applied to buildings which are used on a regular basis such as libraries, leisure centres, community centres, community shops and places of worship.

The Community Energy Solar Project has enabled us to use live energy data for teaching across the curriculum. We’re currently piloting a project for a whole year group on sustainability and our PV panels have played a central role in our teaching.

We also link up with our local community energy group OVESCO to run work experience programmes for students

Steve Green, Environmental coordinator, Ringmer Academy College

Schools, Community Energy projects and Educational Outreach

About Community Energy and Educational Outreach

Community energy groups work with other organisations such as Ashden and Sussex Green Living to provide educational outreach programmes to support schools. In doing so this maximises the environmental, educational and community benefit of community energy projects, as well as engaging with pupils in a truly motivational way,

Some community energy groups support STEM learning and organise school visits to solar projects. Others work with Ashden’s free LESS CO2 energy efficiency programme and Sussex Green Living’s inspirational assemblies lessons and workshops in schools.

We bring to life climate change education and solutions with our ‘Future we want – LESS CO2’ programme in schools. It educates, it inspires and it motivates action. We talk about the problems, the solutions and how small actions repeated by many people can change society.

As well as understanding climate change, our children need to understand how to find positive solutions for a better future. And that’s what we do.

Carrie Cort, Founder of Sussex Green Living, Climate Reality Leader and Eco School Assessor

Since 2012 there has been a phenomenal growth in the number of schools and community energy groups working together to commission community energy projects.

In the South this has grown from 7 to 84 schools in just 7 years. What’s exciting is that there are more and more schools getting in touch to make this happen for the benefit of the schools, their pupils, the local community and most importantly, future generations.

We installed our community solar project at Downlands School, Hassocks in 2015. We have a total of 80kW of solar panels, with 49 shareholder, almost all living within a few miles of the school. We’re saving the school money, enabling them to invest in more energy efficiency for their older buildings.

We save carbon, the school gets cheaper energy, our shareholders receive annual 4% return and we provide a community benefit fund to th school that they can use on environmental projects

Juliet Merrifield, Director of HKD Energy