Should Schools Crowdfund Solar Panels and Teach Kids to be Entrepreneurs?

In an effort to save on electricity bills, and instil in their pupils the benefits of going green, many schools are now considering whether or not to install solar panels. Most school buildings have the space to hold several panels and there are significant savings and profits to be made from selling the excess electricity to the National Grid.

The problem most schools face is finding the funds in the first place.

One initiative that could help schools across the UK find the money for their solar panel installations is to try crowdfunding. Whilst schools are not allowed to borrow money to finance a project such as solar panels, there may be room in the future to indulge in a little crowdfunding, something that would not only help develop a clean energy initiatives but give pupils valuable entrepreneurial skills that will benefit their future development.

What is Crowdfunding?

A recent phenomenon that has recently taken off big time, crowdfunding is getting people to provide small amounts of finance to help get a project off the ground. In return, backers get some sort of reward for helping out. For instance, if you are crowdfunding the budget for a new film you might offer backers a free pass to see the movie if they fund £10 or you might give someone a walk on part if they put in £100. The more backers you get the closer you get to your target.

Crowdfunding can work well on a global basis but it can also be developed for a local need. There are many educationalists who believe that we should be getting our children involved in activities such as crowdfunding because it teaches extremely valuable skills such as project management, pitch development and social media business engagement. It can also develop greater confidence and provide pupils with a platform to succeed in the future. Business leaders have also expressed that the workforce needs to think more in entrepreneurial ways rather than the old fashioned turn up for work, do the job mentality.

Can Crowdfunding Help for Schools?

Many schools are already developing crowdfunding projects that their pupils take part in either as individuals or working within a team and there are moves to have entrepreneurial activity included on the curriculum.

Gathering the money together for solar panels would be a challenge but one that a decent sized school with the right resources would be able to initiate. The truth is that only 1 in 15 schools in the Greater London area have solar panels installed. They are missing out on the benefits of that extra revenue that can be used to fund other valuable teaching resources.

Friends of the Earth have been involved in trying to introduce solar to more schools over the last few years. In the autumn of last year they ran a competition for primary schools to win a chance of having panels installed. The organisation has, in the meantime, been pushing hard to change the rules so that schools can borrow to have solar panels installed.

Here at the Renewable Energy Hub we are in the process of launching a national solution where schools are among many other worthwhile public funded locations, that can apply to join, participate and benefit from the scheme. We facilitate the process of crowdfunding renewable energy equipment by arraigning cost price installation and high quality certified equipment for use in the project as well as managing the crowdfunding process, in an ethical and effective manor to which we do not profit. To learn more or apply click here: Crowdfunding for renewables.

The Benefits of Solar Panels in Schools

The introduction of solar panels in schools is a win-win situation and the right funding can help bring in valuable additional funds once the initial installation payment is covered. Friends of the Earth have said that an average sized school could look to make in the region of £8,000 in cost savings over a year. Finding more imaginative and achievable solutions to the funding problem could change the future of our schools and the way our children look at green technology.