THE chance to buy shares in a solar panel scheme at Leominster’s new primary school is on offer this evening.

The co-operative deal is believed to be the first of its kind at a new-build school — the school is due to open in the autumn.

Leominster Sunrise cooperative is behind the project. It was behind a similar venture at the Bridge Street Sports Centre in the town when a 50kW array was installed on the tennis hall in 2011.

Felicity Norman, one of the co-op’s directors, said the project’s aim was to significantly reduce energy costs — and the carbon footprint — of the new school.

“It’s fantastic to see Leominster leading the UK again when it comes to community-owned energy after the success of the award-winning first solar co-op at Bridge Street,” she added.

The community share offer is being launched to raise the £150,000 needed to fund the 90kW array and will close on July 18.

Priority will be given to people living close to the school. Interested parties can invest anything from £250 to £49,000.

A special offer is being made for those wishing to buy shares on behalf of a child in Herefordshire as they can apply for a minimum of 100 shares (£100).

It is hoped that grandparents and other family members will consider buying shares for children, encouraging the next ‘solar’ generation to understand how renewable energy works and to share the financial rewards from it.

The project received a further boost recently when HMRC confirmed that the application for Advanced Assurance of Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) tax relief has been successful.

This means that most taxpayers will be able to claim 50 per cent of their investment back against tax.

The current head teacher of Leominster Junior School, Rhodri Richards, said: “We’re delighted to see such good use being made of the roof space of the new school.”

He confirmed that the existing junior school would be hosting the launch event from 6pm on June 2.