Frequently asked questions

The basics

+ What on earth has Prince got to do with solar panels?

Prince used to secretly buy solar panels. True story.

Shortly after Prince passed away, an emotional Van Jones told the world about his friend’s secret philanthropy: “There are people who have solar panels right now on their houses in Oakland, California that don't know Prince paid for them.”

This was via Prince’s support for Jones’ amazing Green for All programme. As Jones later told Rolling Stone: "He's trying to create something that everybody can dance to. Politically, poor kids putting up solar panels? Everybody can dance to that.”

It wasn’t the only cause Prince supported. As his ex-wife, Manuela Testolini put it, Prince was a “fierce philanthropist." When he visited a new city for a concert, he would have charitable work going on to complement it - supporting community gardens, food banks, arts festivals, racial justice, women’s shelters, coding education, all sorts.

+ Why are you doing this?

When Prince died, we were really moved by the video of Van Jones telling everyone that Prince had secretly bought people solar panels. In his words: “the world needs to know that it wasn't just the music."

We thought Prince’s quiet solar charity was not just worth commemorating, but worth building on too. We’ve helped community groups go solar before, and know the power and independence it can bring.

With this campaign, we’re inviting everyone to celebrate and extend Prince's legacy by fundraising for solar on the roofs of organisations fighting for the causes he believed in.

The solar sites

+ How did you pick the solar sites?

First we tried to build a picture of the sorts of causes Prince supported. It was impressive. As one of the 10:10 team put it, “if you can think of a good thing, Prince was probably into it.” Our list included racial justice, women’s shelters, community gardens, food banks, homelessness, support for musicians and other artists, arts and tech education (in fact, all sorts of education), migrants rights, public libraries, animal welfare, urban farms, sexual health, green jobs, and much much more.

Then we went looking for groups in the UK who worked on one or more of those issues. We asked our friends and colleagues, put some shout outs on social media and posted about it in forums we knew could connect us with the sorts of groups we wanted to talk to. Then it was a matter of checking logistics like whether they had a roof that could host solar and ensuring we had a good mix of projects across the whole of the UK.

+ Why don’t you have a racial justice/ women’s shelters/ coding education/ animal rights (or another one of Prince’s fave issues) group in your fundraiser?

We tried! But nothing worked out in the times-scales, or within other constraints like having permission to put things on the roof.

We are really keen to develop projects in the intersection between these issues and action on climate change, though. If you’ve got an idea for something you think might work, or know someone who’d like to work with us, get in touch.

+ Why are all the sites in the UK?

10:10 is a small, UK based charity who works to cut carbon in the UK. We know that global action on climate change must also involve carbon cutting in other high-emitting countries like the USA, as well as greater access to renewable energy in the global south. However, we also know that other organisations are better placed to take action here - for example, check out the awesome Green for All in the US, or our friends at Solar Aid - and that UK carbon cutting is a vital part of the puzzle which we’re well placed to have impact in. We’d love it if people in other countries were inspired to run Prince-themed solar fundraisers, and have worked hard to share our learning from other projects, especially Solar Schools, internationally.

The fundraising

+ What happens if you don’t hit your target, or raise way more than your target?

We’ve got a range of contingency plans, depending on how close to the target we get.

Buying the actual panels is only part of a solar fundraiser - there are also the costs of getting them installed. So, as long as we raise enough for the labour, etc, we can vary how many panels we put up there. Fewer solar panels would be sad, but would still mean groups would be cutting carbon and saving on their electricity bills.

Similarly, if we raise more money, we can buy more panels. They all have different sized roofs, so not all of them can take loads of the things - to be as fair and even as possible, we’ve agreed we’ll cap it at 10kwp each (about 40 panels).

If we don’t quite raise enough to cover the cost of installation, we’ll use the money for other carbon cutting projects at each of the sites - LED lightbulbs or insulation, for example - which will also significantly decrease their energy bills. This is the approach we applied successfully with Solar Schools.

+ How will the money be divided up?

Each of our six solar sites is a different shape and size so they money won't be split exactly into six.

First we’ve got to pay some additional costs for sites that need structural surveys and energy performance certificates to make sure they’re ready to go.

After that, the money will be divvied up depending on how many panels are going up on each site. If we hit our overall target then we’ll install up to a maximum of just over 4kWp on each project depending on their roof space.

There are also costs 10:10 has accrued in running this campaign. We’d like to get at least some of that back so we can run projects like this again in the future, so we will keep any gift aid on donations made towards the fundraiser target.

+ Who owns the solar panels and associated income?

The local organisations we are working with will own the solar panels. Because they’ll be generating their own electricity, they’ll get significant savings on their energy bills as well as being paid for all the electricity they generate. Any electricity they produce but don’t use will be fed back into the national grid – and they get paid extra for that! Oh - and there will also be a carbon saving of about two tonnes per year each. Not bad!

+ Does 10:10 install the solar panels? Will the groups do this themselves?

To keep things as simple and as cheap as possible, 10:10 intends to commission the installs at each of the groups. However, if a local group wants to use a local supplier, that’s fine by us. In that case, we'll work out how much money it would have cost us to install solar for them with our supplier, and transfer the money to them to spend locally.

+ Will the solar panels be purple?

You can buy purple solar panels! And green ones, and pink ones…

We thought about it, but in the end we decided to maximise the electricity we can make with the money, so we’re going with the lower cost option of plain old blue ones.

About 10:10

+ What do you know about crowdfunding for solar?

10:10 is internationally recognised for its expertise on solar crowdfunding. Our award-winning Solar Schools campaign worked with 80 schools and together they raised over £700,000 to install over 2000 solar panels. Crucially, our world-leading model ensured that the process of fundraising brought communities closer, helped volunteers learn new skills and gave over 30,000 pupils a chance to learn more about energy and climate change. In 2016, we worked on a similar project with community groups in Manchester and, in the winter of 2015, helped 24 community energy projects (including wind and hydro, as well as solar) beat the clock to raise £15million in just three weeks.

+ Are you all massive Prince fans?

Some of the team are MASSIVE, MASSIVE Prince fans. Some were moved by the story of him buying solar panels (we’re all MASSIVE, MASSIVE, MASSIVE solar fans), and started listening to his music. Some are kind of enjoying the fact everyone’s been playing Prince in the office, but are more into LCD Soundsystem or Frank Ocean right now. Some have been tracing the links between Prince and dubstep (apparently Swindle is a massive Prince fan and we think maybe Purple Walls might be a nod to his-purpleness). And then there is a very small percentage of the team which is looking forward to the campaign ending so they can get back to swing dance class.

Get involved

+ I want to help fundraise, how can I get involved?

Awesome! You can donate directly through our website. We’ve also put together some Prince and solar themed fundraising ideas if you want to get fundraising at work or with your friends. Let us know if you need any help or have an idea you’d like to share with others. And if you have run a wear purple to work day, we’d LOVE to see the pictures!

+ I’m a journalist wanting to talk to you and/or the solar sites, who should I talk to?

Our brilliant press officer, Dan Jones is the man to talk to - [email protected] You can also check out press releases on our media page.

+ I know an awesome charity that could do with solar, how we can get in on this?

Sadly we can’t add more charities to this fundraiser, but we’re all for charities going solar. The best idea is to get in touch with an installer to find out whether they have a suitable building, how much it could save them and how much it might cost. The Energy Savings Trust has some handy info to get you started.

We're honouring Prince's legacy of solar philanthropy. And we're building on it. We're fundraising to put solar panels on six organisations working on causes close to Prince's heart. Will you chip in to help them out?