The government’s community energy strategy received a major boost this week, after British Gas inked a deal worth up to £60m that could see it install solar panels on up to 8,000 rooftop sites across the UK. In an innovative new partnership, British Gas Solar, the solar division of the energy giant, has teamed up with community energy project developer and social impact investment specialist Social Finance to develop a pipeline of solar rooftop projects for schools and public buildings across the UK. The partnership will see Social Finance raise up to £60m of institutional loan capital to fund the projects, with investors expected to secure attractive returns through the feed-in tariff payments attached to the new solar arrays. Significantly, members of the local communities hosting the solar arrays will also be invited to purchase shares in the projects, allowing them to enjoy some of the financial returns that result. The group is hoping around 20 per cent of the finance required for any individual project can be raised in the local community.