Solar SOAS

A project by: Solar SOAS


WE RAISED £22,203

from 56 donors

This project received pledges on Sun 09 Oct 2016
Bringing the green energy revolution to SOAS!

Green Power to The People

Solar SOAS is the first University community energy project of its kind in the UK! The project aims to get solar panels installed on the unused roofs of the SOAS Old Building, thereby cutting carbon emissions, raising awareness about climate change and renewable energy and generating £2,000 of profits per year for our community fund. This is an amazing opportunity for students, staff, alumni and friends of the university to help get this worthwhile project off the ground and join the green power revolution!  

What are the benefits?

‘Community energy’ essentially means locally produced clean energy for the benefit of the community. In addition to cutting carbon emissions, Solar SOAS will generate a yearly community fund of approximately £2,000 through the Feed-in tariff (a government subsidy). This fund will be available for new local environmental ventures, as decided upon by the SOAS community. Thus it will be the green gift that keeps on giving for the whole 20-year lifespan of the solar panels! In the future we not only hope to expand onto more SOAS roofs, but create a business model that will make our future projects at SOAS and other universities across the country an exciting investment prospect for students, faculty, staff and alumni alike.

‘Absolutely thrilled to see the first university community energy project in the UK happening in our constituency. We hope this will lead the way for further similar projects around the country!’
- Keir Starmer, MP for Holborn & St.Pancras

What will funding go towards?

Funds will go towards purchasing and installing 114 solar panels, with the aim of finishing the install by late September. The project has several generous sources of funding, including the urban community energy fund (UCEF), SOAS itself, and the SOAS Students Union. We are reaching out to the wider community to contribute the rest to meet our funding target, which will make it a project we all have a stake in.


£38,000 = solar panels and installation

£2,000 = cost of rewards

Total needed = £40,000

The students union is backing our project with £10,000

Fun fact: The 114 solar panels to be installed on the SOAS Old Building will help cut carbon emissions equivalent to 10,264 kg per year

How can you help Solar SOAS?

  1. Donate!

  2. Share this page with your friends and on your social media

  3. Learn about energy democracy and other ways you can contribute in the fight against climate change

What do you get if you donate?

In addition to feeling good about being part of the climate solution (yes!), donations come with a selection of amazing eco-friendly rewards. These range from social media shout-outs and postcards, to practical tote bags and water bottles, cool t-shirts, solar-powered lights from the charity SolarAid, and an engaging solar panel-making workshop with the organisation Demand Energy Equality in South London. For some rewards we also include a charity donation! Reward options vary according to donation amount, and in general are worth roughly 10% the value of the donation. Note that pledges, donations and rewards are only valid and credited if we reach our goal and the project goes ahead! If you want your whole donation to go to our project and waive your rights to a reward, please select the "£1 or more pledge" and enter your donation amount accordingly.

Our story so far

Solar SOAS is the brainchild of the SOAS Energy and Climate Justice Society, and came into existence in 2014 as a way for students to take local action against climate change. UniSolar Limited was set up as a Community Benefit Society (a cooperative Society registered with the FCA - Society register number: 7219) with the aim of bringing this type of project to universities across the UK, with Solar SOAS as our pilot project. In March 2015 Solar SOAS were finalists in the Mayor of London Low Carbon Entrepreneur Award, and we also won £500 through the SOAS Ignite fund. In November 2015 we were awarded £20,000 from the urban community energy fund (UCEF) to do the feasibility work on our project (financial modelling, technical feasibility work, legal due diligence, grid connection suitability, planning permission). We are now just around the corner from purchasing and getting solar panels installed - which is where you come in.

Connect with us!


Twitter @solarsoas


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What happens to the electricity generated?
  • A: The electricity will be mostly used at SOAS, helping to power the university with Green energy and some will also be sold into the local energy grid. This will generate regular income (with more in summer than winter of course!) through the Feed-in-Tariff, a government subsidy.
  • Q: What will you do with the income earned from the electricity?
  • A: The income generated will contribute to the long-term operation and maintenance of the solar panels, as well as channeled into our community fund to a sum of approximately £2,000 per year. This fund will be used to fund other environmental activities and events, and invite guest speakers to SOAS!
  • Q: What happens if you don't reach your goal?
  • A: If we don't reach our goal none of the money is taken from your bank account. We'll work on other ways to get solar panels onto SOAS roofs and continue to spread awareness on energy and climate change issues!
  • Q: What if I want all of my money to go to the project and not receive a reward?
  • A: You can! Simply choose to 'Pledge £1 or More' and select how little or how much you want to donate, and it will all go directly to the project.
  • Q: Can I invest, rather than donate money?
  • A: We're looking to open Solar SOAS as a possibility for community investment over the next few projects, but before that we need to complete this first installation and prove that there is enough appetite for community energy at universities in the UK!

  • Q: Do you already have planning permission?
  • A: The solar panels are considered permitted development under Camden planning guidelines, therefore we do not need planning permission. As it is a listed building and in a conservation area, we do need listed building consent. Together with SOAS we have commissioned an extensive heritage impact report and submitted our application for listed building consent. We are awaiting the outcome of this but are confident we will get it.

  • Q: Can I support the project without making a donation?
  • A: Of course! Help spread the word or even better, get active and get involved! Tell your friends and family in person, over the phone and on social media.

Have any further questions? Feel free to contact us on facebook, twitter, or at!

9 months, 2 weeks ago


Dear Friends and Supporters of Solar SOAS,

We were thrilled to receive your donation, and with your support, we did it! Our crowdfund has successfully closed and we have 114 solar panels installed and generating on the SOAS Old Building roof. SOAS has become the UK's first community energy project on a university, and you're a crucial part of it!

Your donation will go towards the solar panels, building a brighter, greener future and a better world for everyone! We are processing the donations and then your exciting rewards.

We are live and generating, and ecstatic to see those shining panels as the tangible change a volunteer project and crowdfund could achieve.Just that one first SOAS roof of 114 solar panels will help cut carbon emissions equivalent to 10,264 kg per year [data from Joju Solar], which is over 5 times the average UK house annual power consumption! The install completed on 26th September on SOAS’ Old Building serves as a pilot project and proof of concept, with others also in the early planning stages. We believe that this trailblazing project will have a lasting legacy and give people around the UK a tangible way to act as a community and make a difference.

"I am always impressed by the commitment of SOAS students to engage with pressing issues facing our world today. Solar SOAS is an excellent example of our students taking a constructive and positive approach to tackling one of the great challenges of our time - climate change." -Valerie Amos, Director of SOAS

On behalf of Solar SOAS I’d like to thank you for your participation, as well as any help you can provide in inspiring positive action by sharing the news far and wide. Keep you eyes open for when the project's first annual £2000 community fund becomes available!

Once again, thank you for your support.

With best wishes,

Isobel and all the team at Solar SOAS

### Homepage:

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Social media quotes for sharing! ~~

I donated to @SolarSOAS, now we have UK's 1st university community energy!

@SolarSOAS is bringing the green energy revolution to @SOAS, you can be part of it too!

10 months, 2 weeks ago

Very exciting news! Camden Council has shown us the love... by approving our Listed Building Consent application for a solar panel installation on SOAS Old Building (the one with the JCR)!! Hurrah!

SOAS Old Building, like many across London, is listed heritage, and it's also in a conservation area. This meant our project had to go through an arduous impact assessment and a public consultation, which we learnt yesterday, it passed with flying colours! This success is a great sign for those thinking of installing solar on other universities or Listed Buildings.

Now we are one step closer to achieving the green energy dream at SOAS, but we are still looking to strengthen community support through our crowdfund, and give everyone the opportunity to be part of something amazing.

Great news, thank goodness Camden are thinking the right way. PV in urban areas is very important!

10 months, 3 weeks ago

*You now have until 9th October to pledge your support for Solar SOAS!!*

We have extended our crowdfund deadline in order to reach out further and get even more members of the community engaged and involved!

Lots of you have chipped in to help purchase those long-awaited solar panels, but as a pioneer for university community energy in the UK, Solar SOAS need to make the most of this opportunity to raise awareness of climate solutions and get everyone on board. 

As well as continuing to gather donations from the wider world and community, the new deadline of 9th October will allow us to communicate the project's goals and importance to new students joining SOAS. This way, we can do a big crowdfund drive during Fresher's Fayre and throw fun events during Fresher's Fortnight ending 9th October. These SOAS students will be key decision makers when it comes to how to spend Solar SOAS' community fund, and students everywhere will be key decision makers when it comes to investing in and building a fairer, greener society for all.

We're looking forward to meeting lots of passionate people looking to support the project, join the team and make positive change!

Please share our crowdfunding page and help spread the community energy spirit~

Solar SOAS

generated 4677 clicks and caused 22 donations totalling £1065.00

Robert van Maaren

generated 297 clicks and caused 4 donations totalling £180.00

Rachel Man

generated 92 clicks and caused 2 donations totalling £75.00

Charlotte Klinting

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generated 268 clicks

Ralitsa Padalska

generated 168 clicks

Micheil Page

generated 155 clicks

Madalena FCruz

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generated 115 clicks and donated

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Wendy Menzies

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Rebequinha Woo

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Agnes Schim Vd Loeff

generated 48 clicks and donated

Holly Ai Smith

generated 29 clicks and donated £50.00

Hong Man

generated 3 clicks and donated £25.00

SOAS Students' Union

donated £10000.00

SOAS University of London

donated £10000.00

Hannah Short

donated £245.00

Julia Christian

donated £75.00

Neil StudentSwitchoff

donated £50.00


donated £40.00

Birsha Ohdedar

donated £35.00

Cristina Ruiz de Alda

donated £25.00


donated £25.00

Tobias U

donated £20.00

Chris Small

donated £5.00

Ryan Man


Helen Burley


Gi Cheng


Yvonne Forsey


Duncan Tarrant


James Maitland


Helen Hawgood


Rebs Newsom


Calvin Cheng


Selja Ryöppy


22 anonymous donations totalling £878.50

Only project creators and their sponsors can post comments.

"Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth "You owe me". Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky"

Good luck!

A forward thinking enterprise - I wish you every success!

Great job putting this together and making solid progress forward. I hope your collective efforts will be a shining model for the rest of SOAS, to other UK universities, and to institutions abroad. I'm quite positive I won't be in London for a long time, but no matter where I am, I'd like to keep contributing and being a part of the community. One comment concerning the short survey, which appears after the online donation is complete. I would re-visit the second question, which asks the question why donate. I would re-word the choices, because for instance "Graduate" as one of the reasons someone has made the donation seems difficult to understand, no? :)