Solar Panels CC PublicDomainPictures

British retailer Marks & Spencer is crowdfunding a switch to green energy and promising a profit for people willing to invest.

The plan calls for installing solar panels on nine of its stores around the UK. The chain has 852 stores in the UK and about 200 stores in nine other countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The project will produce 891 kilowatt-hours of electricity from the solar panels.

The company has created M&S Energy Society and partnered with a nonprofit to raise $1.63 million for the solar project —selling shares ranging in price from $132 to $132,000 and promising a target of five percent interest each year over the 20 year life of the project.

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Any profits from the electricity generated will be steered back into a community benefit fund to pay for green local energy installations on other businesses near the stores.

“This project is a great opportunity for customers to invest in green energy and help the environment, while also supporting local community groups,” Lydia Hopton said. “We’re really excited that M&S will be the first retailer to launch a partnership of this kind.”

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Other UK companies are also pursuing green energy projects. Grocery chain Sainsbury’s has already installed 170,000 solar panels on it’s stores and hardware company, Kingfisher, is spending $71 million to install panels.

Globally, Swedish furniture giant Ikea, pledged to spend more than one billion dollars on solar energy for its stores.

(READ more at The Guardian) — Photo: PublicDomainPictures, CC

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