GMCR planning largest community-owned solar array in Greater Manchester


A blog written by Greater Manchester Community Renewables

Like many community energy groups, Greater Manchester Community Renewables raises investment through community shares in order to develop renewable energy projects.  

What we do

GMCR decided to focus on installing solar panels on schools and community centres, because we want to showcase low carbon technology at the heart of the community, as well as helping our partners save money on their energy bills and cut their carbon footprint.  

What we’ve achieved

GMCR was set up in 2015 and has over 230 members who have funded solar arrays at eight primary schools in Salford and Bury, and a community centre in Trafford.  So far we’ve:

  • generated enough electricity to charge over 65 million smartphones;
  • saved their partners over £70,000 on their energy bills; and
  • prevented 300 tonnes of carbon emissions from polluting power stations.

Our community benefit

Like many community benefit societies, our members vote to distribute profits to the community, in our case, for carbon reduction, energy efficiency and environmental education initiatives.  We’ve donated £27,000 to our Community Fund which has supported projects at the schools including camera bird boxes, LED lighting and a solar powered stopwatch for a school playing field.

In 2019, we secured a grant from the Electricity North West Powering Our Communities fund to help amplify the benefits of our project.  We teamed up with the Groundwork Green Doctors to provide energy saving advice to local residents, and we’ve also commissioned energy audits to help our partners identify further ways to save energy.

Our latest share offer

GMCR’s latest community share offer aims to fund the largest community-owned solar array in Greater Manchester.  This will more than double the size of our project! The goal is to cover the roofs at Wellington School with almost 1,000 solar panels which will generate enough electricity to make over 16 million cups of tea a year and save the school thousands of pounds on their bills.

The community share offer is open to individuals, businesses and organisations.  Anyone who buys shares will be eligible for share interest of up to 5% per year from 2025 and GMCR aims to repay the shares over ten years.  With a minimum investment of £100 you can help us deliver this record breaking project. 

The share offer is open until 3 July 2023.  If you’re interested in investing, please read the Share Offer fully and take appropriate financial advice.

Download your copy of the share offer from GMCR’s website