I'd like to introduce you to a new project we've been working on.
It's called Solar Schools, and if it works, I think it could redefine our relationship with renewable energy.
The idea is simple: we help schools get their own solar panels by giving them tools to raise money from the local community. This cuts their carbon emissions, generates long-term income via the Feed-in Tariff and provides a brilliant educational resource for the pupils.
Each school gets its own Solar Schools webpage (like this), populated with virtual solar panels. Parents, neighbours, local businesses, ex-pupils and other supporters sponsor segments of the panels by buying vouchers from children or donating online. Each one costs £5.
Once the money's raised, the installers arrive and get the real panels up and running. I just sponsored a few tiles on New Christ Church Primary in Reading, just around the corner from where I used to live. You can see them in the picture above.
You might have heard the odd mention of Solar Schools in our blogs and emails, but this is the week things really got going. Last Tuesday we kicked off a one-year pilot scheme involving 10 schools in Reading, Norwich, Cambridge and the Scilly Isles.
If it works well (and if we get good feedback from 10:10ers like you), we'll be taking it national in 2012.
Right now, cutting carbon is harder than it needs to be. Sharing tips on how to get over the obstacles is a good start, but by working together to support brand new ways of doing things, we can start sweeping those obstacles away altogether. And that's where Solar Schools comes in.
So what can you do right now to help make this a succcess? Three things:
Thanks so much for all your amazing work so far and to Gulbenkian and our other pilot funders for making it all possible. I have a feeling this next chapter is going to be pretty exciting.