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Switching kids onto solar

Kathy Hill

As you know, here at SolarAid we’re passionate about solar. And solar education is a big part of what we do, not just in Africa but in the UK too. For several years we have been running Sunny Schools, an innovative climate, energy-saving and solar education programme for teachers, and thanks to our partnership with Lightsource Renewable Energy, 100 new schools are about to benefit from our experience and resources.

Lightsource Renewable Energy is one of the UK’s leading solar energy generators, and since 2011 they have been installing solar in one hundred schools around the country. James Lee, MD of Lightsource Asset Management says,

“The Government wants 30% of the UK’s electricity output to come from renewable sources by 2020. This is quite a challenge, given that the current estimate is in the region of 7%. We believe that by helping to educate our young people in this way and inspiring energy-saving behaviour change, we are helping to make that target more achievable.”

So together with Lightsource, we have used our solar expertise to create an inspiring new teaching resource for the classroom. In it, teachers will find a whole host of helpful and stimulating lesson ideas, worksheets, and teaching aids to help children reach a deeper understanding of renewable energy and its importance in a global context. It also includes a tangible, hands-on solar kit to help bring solar electricity to life in the classroom.

But the benefit of this partnership is intended to spread far beyond home shores by making children aware of the life-changing potential of solar energy in developing countries. Even though many regions of Africa have the highest levels of sunshine in the world, more than 90% of people don’t have access to electricity via the power grid. This translates into an unsustainable dependence on dangerous kerosene lamps. Solar is an obvious solution but many schools still cannot afford it.

The UK schools that Lightsource solarised now have an opportunity to take their children’s learning out into the real world. By working together as a school, pupils can campaign to raise £1000 and help to light a specific school in Africa with clean safe solar, banishing their need for kerosene. That means pupils can study and teachers can prepare lessons after dark without risking their lives or their health.

To learn more about installing solar on a school, please visit and check out our Sunny Schools teaching resources.

By Kathy Hill, Education Manager

Follow Kathy on Twitter: @hats_away