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 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 members include the schools with solar panels and the Students’ Union at Godalming 6th Form College.
The Directors of the Co-operative are all unpaid by the Co-operative.
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.
Andrew Smith – Director
Andrew was the Headteacher at Rodborough, an Academy Secondary School in Milford, Surrey, from September 2004 until he retired in June 2018. 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 ten years the school has actively taken on sustainability agenda.
Nigel Roby – Director
Nigel has been a member of WVSS since its launch and is now a member of a number of community energy coops such as the Highland Energy’s Kinlochbervie hydro scheme, Edinburgh Solar, and the Schools Energy Cooperative. He worked in publishing for nearly 40 years latterly owning and running The Bookseller – a magazine, online and events company for the book trade – till its sale in 2020. He is currently a judge for the Wainwright Prize for writing on global conservation.
Mariana Spater – Director
Mariana recently retired as 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 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 has recently retired from a career in investment management and is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Global Energy and Climate Policy at SOAS, London University. He has also worked for several years in management consultancy specialising in information systems. 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.