News, events and schools' information for families across Bath and West Wiltshire

Nick Bird, the Community Outreach and Engagement Co-ordinator with Bath & West Community Energy, explains how five schools in BANES have had solar panels installed for free…

Bath & West Community Energy (BWCE) is a local community owned business, set up on a non-profit basis to provide community benefit. BWCE have been working with local schools to install rooftop solar systems on the following basis:

  • BWCE install the systems for free, so there is no upfront cost for the school.
  • BWCE manage the system, thereby taking the hassle away from the school.
  • BWCE sell the electricity generated to the schools at a discount, thereby lowering their energy bills.

In addition, any surplus income goes into the BWCE Fund (set up as an independent charity) to be distributed to community projects reducing carbon emissions and addressing fuel poverty. Local organisations, Bath City Farm, The Carers Centre, First Steps Nursery, Bath Share & Repair and Julian House have all received grants from the fund.

BWCE has installed solar systems on Beechen Cliff and Hayesfield schools in Bath, Writhlington School in Radstock and Somervale and Norton Hill schools in Midsomer Norton, with more installations are planned for the Autumn.

Tim Markall, Headteacher at Beechen Cliff School said, “I am really pleased that Bath and West Community Energy are supplying solar panels on a non-profit basis. Our partnership with them is enabling the school to cut carbon emissions and save on rising fuel bills at no capital cost to the school.

“Ensuring a sustainable future is something our students are passionate about. Our school Eco-Team began a campaign last year for the school to install solar panels and so I am delighted that this has been possible. Further to this, it is great to know that some of the income generated by BWCE is going into other worthwhile community projects through their community fund.”

To install all our planned projects, we need more local people to become members and invest, to help us raise £500,000 by Christmas 2022 and £1 million by April 2023.

To become a member, you need to invest a minimum of £100. This money remains yours, but it will be put to good use in developing more community owned renewable energy projects. As a member you get a vote in the organisation and a target annual interest rate on your investment of 5% (subject to project performance).

For more information and to apply for shares please go to

We are running informal online information sessions about our work and the share offer. To find out more and to book, please email email hidden; JavaScript is required