Wey Valley Solar Schools (WVSS) is a producer co-operative which was formed in the summer of 2011 to raise capital from the local community to install solar panels on secondary schools in Surrey. It was formed by people living in the Guildford and Godalming area and the membership of WVSS predominantly but not exclusively comes from this area. The Co-operative’s 119 members includes the schools with solar panels (most of the the schools have now joined the Co-operative) and the Students’ Union at Godalming 6th Form College which has also joined.
WVSS currently has only one part-time member of staff and relies heavily on the time and commitment of volunteers. Apart from Rachael, the Directors of the co-operative are all unpaid. Further details of the current directors are given below.
Mike Smyth – Chair, Director
Mike is a solicitor who lives in Milford. He is the Chair of Energy4All (unpaid), a social enterprise that promotes and organises the community ownership of renewable energy and used the skills and experience gained in that role to establish Wey Valley Solar Schools Co-operative. He retired in 2008 from Lawrence Graham, a major London based firm of Solicitors, where he had been a partner for more than 20 years, specialising in corporate and commercial law. He was a founder investor in Keepsafe Limited with Rod Edge. He is the former chair of Friends of the Earth Trust for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and is active in its local group, Guildford and Waverley Friends of the Earth.
Jane Thomson- Director
Jane worked in London for many years in Regional Management and Sales for a national catering and event company. She now works locally, with Surrey’s student support service, providing sign language (BSL) support in colleges and universities. She also works as a gardener and freelance florist. She is the Waverley Borough Councillor for the Central and Ockford ward, a governor of Greenoaks school, and a Godalming Town Councillor. She was Mayor of Godalming in 2010/2011. Jane is a keen environmentalist. She lives in Godalming. Her two grown up sons both attended Rodborough School, one of the schools in the co-op.
Andrew Smith – Director
Andrew has been Headteacher at Rodborough, an Academy Secondary School in Milford, Surrey, since September 2004. A Geography teacher by trade, Andrew has always considered himself a teacher first and a specialist second. He is passionately interested in how we teach children and the way they learn. He was Deputy Headteacher at Farnham Heath End School, Surrey for 6 years and prior to his appointment at Rodborough was Headteacher of Winton School in Andover, Hampshire for eight years. Rodborough was inspected under the new Ofsted framework in December 2009 and was awarded an Outstanding judgement. The school has moved from Satisfactory to Outstanding in just three years. Over the last five years the school has actively taken on sustainability agenda.
Peter Craig – Director
Peter is a Chartered Surveyor (FRICS) with over 40 years’ experience in commercial property. Until about 10 years ago, he was a partner of the firm GVA Grimley in their London office. During this time in that company, his roles included managing partner of the London office, international partner, and corporate advisor to several major international companies. Since then, he has concentrated on advising corporate companies (mainly international) on a property consultancy basis, both in the UK and Europe generally. Peter is also involved in the emergency services part of the British Red Cross (FESS) within Surrey. He lives in Godalming with his wife Annie and their two sons.
Mariana Spater – Director
Mariana is the Managing Director of Fountain Television in Wembley, the largest purpose built TV studio in Britain, from where the X Factor is broadcast. She qualified as a Chartered Accountant with a predecessor firm of Haysmacintyre. Mariana has also been a trustee of the charity Royal Surgical Aid Society since 2007 and chaired it from 2010 to 2014. Mariana has been a long standing supporter of community energy and is a member of a number of other community energy projects.
Andrew graduated from LSE with a degree in Mathematics in 1981 and obtained an MBA from City Business School in 1992. Prior to his MBA Andrew worked in management consultancy focusing on information systems. From 1992 he has had a career in investment management working in London and New York, before retiring a few months ago as head of portfolio management at SG Hambros in London. Andrew is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Global Energy and Climate Policy at SOAS, London University.
Andrew has been a member of Wey Valley Solar since its inception. He is keen to volunteer to help the continuing development of the Co-op and enable us to benefit from the skills and experience he has. He is reviewing the feasibility models we use.
Rachael Hunter – Director, Company Secretary and Project Co-ordinator
Rachael lives in Godalming and previously worked for the Environment Agency as a biodiversity officer where she managed a number of projects concerning river bank restoration. She was elected a Director of the co-op in May 2013. Rachael works for Energy4Alll which makes her services available to the Co-operative on a part time basis to administer the Co-operative.
Preferred Solar Contractor
The Co-operative has appointed specialist solar energy contractors Joju Solar to design, supply and install the systems for each school. There is no connection between the Co-operative or its Board and Joju Solar. Joju Solar were selected because of their experience in designing systems, their competitive price, the quality of their products, their experience in dealing with schools (including supplying specialist education packages) and community based schemes, their ethical approach to business and their willingness to support the work of the Co-operative. We are very grateful to Joju Solar for their support and commitment to the Co-operative.