How we work

First, we hold discussions with the school or community organisation to talk through how we work, focusing on how Wey Valley Solar installs and maintains the solar PV array for free and how we fund that. At this stage, we ask for outline information on how much electricity the school uses and what price it’s paying per kilowatt hour (kWh)

Then, our contractors, Joju solar, will do a desktop survey to establish if there are roofs of sufficient size and orientation. Based on Energy4All’s historic knowledge of 100s of solar installations, we will be to present an outline proposal for how much solar-based electricity we can supply to the school and at what price level.

If the host organisation is positive about the proposal, we will arrange for Joju to visit the site to establish any difficulties – such as tree-shading – that need to be factored in. We will also contact the local distribution network operator (DNO) to see if there are any issues about connecting to the national grid. Depending on the host organisation’s structure, this might be the point at which trustees or governors are involved to support the school team’s decision-making.

When the school has considered the updated proposal and agrees in principle to proceed, we then arrange for a structural survey to ensure that the roofs identified have sufficient load-bearing strength.

If all has gone to plan, and any issues ironed out, the agreement can then proceed via a simple power purchase agreement (PPA) and an installation schedule agreed. At this stage, Wey Valley Solar will be analysing if a dedicated share issue needs to be done or whether, in the case of a small solar PV array, installation can be funded through reserves or via an intra-coop loan.

When the co-op is organising a share issue to raise the capital for a number of installations, we will create a formal prospectus so existing Wey Valley Solar investors, the organisation’s own cohort and the wider Energy4All ‘community of cause’ membership (19,000) can decide on investment. To date, Wey Valley Solar and Energy4All have been successful in all their share issues.