Catching up with Low Carbon Entrepreneurs 2015 Finalists: Solar SOAS
We spoke to Solar SOAS, one of the 2015 finalists, to see what they’ve been up to since the competition…
Last year we reached the final of the Mayor’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur competition, creating the UK's first-ever university community energy project. Our aim was to get solar panels installed on the roofs of the old SOAS building, in order to cut carbon and raise awareness of climate change and renewable energy.
In August 2016 we launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the £22,000 needed for the 29.7kWp system, successfully completing the installation on 26 September. It will generate 24.15 MWh per year and create an annual profit of £2,000 for a community fund.
It’s fair to say the last year has been great for us. Firstly, we incorporated with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as a community benefit society. We then secured a £20,000 grant from the Urban Community Energy Fund (for our new social enterprise ‘UniSolar Limited') and held a successful crowdfunding campaign to secure the extra funds for launch. The first solar panels were installed at the end of September and we plan to roll this model out to universities across London.
The effort is hugely rewarding and it’s so exciting to share our vision with people. The beauty of the project is that it’s simple and it makes sense. Although we did not win the competition, being a finalist of the Mayor’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur acted as a spring board for us to different sources of funding and opportunities.
Solar SOAS is part of the decentralised, sustainable energy future of the UK. It shows that we can all be part of the solution. We’re part of a green energy revolution. Solar SOAS is all about bringing green power to the people!