SOAS University of London

Solar SOAS reach finals of Low Carbon Entrepreneur competition

11 March 2015

A clean energy initiative set up by SOAS, University of London students and alumni has been announced as a finalist for this year’s Mayor of London 2015 Low Carbon Entrepreneur Prize.

Solar SOAS, a project born out of discussions by the Energy and Climate Justice Society, a SOAS student society, aims to install solar panels on the currently unused rooftops of the SOAS Estate. If launched successfully, Solar SOAS will work to produce renewable energy for the local community and support the university’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions. Solar SOAS will also serve as a pilot for other UK universities.

Solar SOAS
Solar SOAS aims to install solar panels on the rooftops of the SOAS Estate

The Mayor's Low Carbon Entrepreneur competition asks London's students and recent graduates to come up with idea's to reduce London's energy use and carbon emissions.  Solar SOAS is one of ten finalists selected from over 150 applications.  

The finals will take place on Friday 13 March. The team will present their idea before a panel of judges that include the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Dame Ellen MacArthur DBE as well as a host of other esteemed business leaders. The winner, to be announced the same day, will receive £20,000 to fund their low carbon enterprise.

SOAS alumnus and co-leader of the project, Robert Van Maaren, said: “We wanted to do something concrete to tackle climate change and raise awareness of energy and climate justice. SOAS has committed to reducing its energy consumption by 80 per cent by 2050 and Solar SOAS – in line with fossil fuel divestment – will be key in achieving this objective.”

SOAS already generates almost 85 per cent of its heat and power on-site.  Solar SOAS aims to supplement that by producing 65Kwp of clean energy. "The project will also be a way for students and alumni to participate in a green investment opportunity that supports their alma mater," added Domenica Lewis, SOAS alumna.

The project has drawn a lot of support from across the School, including the Students’ Union who recently passed a UGM motion backing the initiative; Stephen McKinnell, SOAS’ Energy Manager; and faculty academic staff.

The Solar SOAS team:

• Robert Van Maaren (MSc, GECP 2013)
• Domenica Lewis (MA, CISD 2013)
• Isobel Annan (BA Chinese Modern and Classical)
• Charlotte Klinting (BA Development Studies and Law)
• Hannah Short (BA Chinese and Development Studies)
• Clare Birkett (MSc Environmental Politics and Development)

Follow @LDN_gov for live tweets from the competition on Friday.