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Our Climate Fund

What is it and how does it work?

Simply put, we can't alter where on the planet the majority of components and modules in the solar industry are made, but we can approximate the carbon cost of bringing that here to sell, and we can pay into a fund for every container we move around the planet, and donate that to initiatives that improve the environment or the lives of people more affected by its degradation.  

More specifically, we are counting the containers we freight every quarter, and allocating £50 for each one to a fund to be paid out to our chosen initiatives for that quarter. 

Which products are you counting towards it? 

We realise there is a long way we could go with this, but also that it needs to be practical to implement. It is straightforward to count the containers we ship directly to the UK from China, for instance, whether that's panels, inverters, batteries or other products. So those are included. 

We're also including ones that we have bought by the full truck load from Europe, but which have been shipped there first - that is quite often the case with panels.   

We brought in 38 containers/trucks in Q1 2021. 

How did you settle on that amount? 

It's not a completely arbitrary figure, but we're also not going to make concrete offsetting claims and we're sceptical when people do. It's possible to estimate fairly closely the CO2 involved in shipping a container from China and there are shipping tools that help do this. (It's about 900kg depending on the ports). As an average, mature trees can capture 20kg per year - but species vary and saplings capture a quarter of that. 

Can't we just donate enough to plant sufficient trees to offset the freight emissions - say, 50 trees per container? Well, the cost per tree will vary hugely depending where in the world you plant, and how much you're including in the price (land acquisition? Upkeep?) and there are valid reason to plant in different places, beyond just the most trees per pound spent. This article covers it well. At the top end, people quote £1 per tree so if you want to look at it that way,  that's what our fund money could be achieving. But we're happy to trust that reputable organisations will make good use of the funds and do important work in a general sense, and we won't make claims about individual trees planted or offsetting every gram.  

There's more than one way to crack an egg too: based on 2020 UK grid carbon intensity, a solar panel 'saves' about 65kg of CO2 per year, so over half it's productive lifetime a single panel will cover the emissions on a container. That means we can have a double positive impact by donating PV arrays to schools, hospitals and communities where they will give the most benefit. 

Where are the funds going?

We have started with donations to three sources, and will continue to add recipients through the years.

2021 Q1 Funds (£1900):

Trees for Life is rewilding the highlands of Scotland with native species, where overgrazing has created barren landscapes. 

Eden Reforestation Projects hire and train local people for planting projects in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Nepal, Haiti, Indonesia, Mozambique, Kenya, and Central America. 

Operation Wallacea is a conservation, biodiversity and research organisation that partners with schools and universities and to implement research and conservation projects and expeditions around the world. 

2021 Q2 Funds (£2350): 

Ecologi are all about carbon reduction. They've already responsibly planted 19 million trees - internationally and in the UK - and invest funds into a variety of clean-energy and carbon reduction projects.    

The Future Forest Company are a UK forest-planting organisation on track to reach 50 million trees by 2025. 

Mangrove Action Project is restoring (and maintaining) mangrove forests, working with local stakeholders and taking an ecological approach that avoids monocultures, unsuitable species or afforestation of other habitats. 

2021 Q3 Funds (£2200):

Cool Earth works with local rainforest communities and in-country NGOs to tackle deforestation. 

Trees for Cities aims to revitalise urban areas through tree-planting and rewilding initiatives, working with local communities and schools. 

2021 Q4 Funds (£3950):

Green's Windmill is a working windmill and science centre in Nottingham, restored by Nottingham City Council. We donated an off-grid solar and battery system for their site, for installation by Warma UK, to be a learning resource for visitors to the mill. 

Fareshare is a network of UK food redistribution organisations, tackling food waste and hunger by ensuring surplus food is redistributed to vulnerable people, via schools, shelters, food banks and community groups. 

2022 Q1 Funds (£4350):

Wild Entrust is a Botswana organisation dedicated to conservation of wildlife ad habitats through science, education and local projects.  

Cambridge Carbon Footprint is a charity raising awareness of ways to live sustainably. Midsummer sponsored their Open Eco Homes initiative, and our MD Andy gave a tour and interview on his own self-build carbon-positive eco home.  

Medecin Sans Frontieres provides urgent medical care in over 70 countries worldwide, with an emphasis on crisis settings.

2022 Q2 Funds (£4100): 

Your Energy Your Way: Apprenticeship sponsorship for women in engineering

Rewilding Britain Restoring eco-systems and reintroducing species in projects across the UK

2022 Q3 Funds (£7500): 

Operation Wallacaea Belize project to restore marine reserve and protect marine biodiversity

Phoenix Trust - a Milton charity and social enterprise local to Midsummer HQ offering paid work and learning to those with learning difficulties. 

Disasters Emergency Committee -DEC provides emergency aid and rapid relief to people caught up in humanitarian crises around the world

2022 Q4 Funds (£9100): 

Fareshare is a network of UK food redistribution organisations, tackling food waste and hunger by ensuring surplus food is redistributed to vulnerable people, via schools, shelters, food banks and community groups.

Operation Wallacaea - El Hito project restoring and expanding a wetland habitat in El Hito, Spain

Red Hen project - a charity local to our Cambridge HQ offering one-to-one educational support to children and their families, providing a link between home and school. 

Friends of the Earth - another powerful environmental campaigning organisation

2023 Q1 Funds (£4600):  

Weforest funding reforestation projects around the world

Medecins Sans Frontiere provides urgent medical care in over 70 countries worldwide, with an emphasis on crisis settings.

2023 Q2 Funds (£4800):

Wrap - UK charity promoting circular economy tackling food waste, packaging, fashion

Greenpeace - the global climate and campaigning group

Phoenix Trust - a Milton charity and social enterprise local to Midsummer HQ offering paid work and learning to those with learning difficulties. 

Q1 2021



£550 - Eden Reforestation

£900 - Operation Wallacea

£450 - Trees for Life

Q2 2021

47 CONTAINERS  £2350  £550 - Ecologi
£1000 - The Future Forest Company
£800 - Mangrove Action Project 

Q3 2021

44 CONTAINERS  £2200  £1100 - Cool Earth
£1100 - Trees for Cities 

Q4 2021

79 CONTAINERS  £3950  £3000 - Green's Windmill, Nottingham
£950 - Fairshare 

Q1 2022

87 CONTAINERS  £4350 

£2000 - Wild Entrust

£500 - Cambridge Carbon Footprint

£1850 - Medecins Sans Frontieres 

Q2 2022

82 CONTAINERS  £4100 

£2100 - Your Energy Your Way

£2000 - Rewilding Britain 

Q3 2022

150 CONTAINERS  £7500 

£4500 - Opwall Belize project

£1000 - Phoenix Trust

£2000 - Disasters Emergency Committee

Q4 2022

182 CONTAINERS  £9100 

£3000 - Opwall El Hito project

£1000 - Red Hen Project

£3000 - Greenpeace

£2100 - Friends of the Earth 

Q1 2023

 92 CONTAINERS  £4600 

£1600 - Weforest

£1000 - Medecins Sans Frontieres 

£2000 - Equipment donation TBC

Q2 2023

96 CONTAINERS  £4800 

£3000 - Wrap

£800 -Greenpeace

£1000 - Phoenix trust 

Here are the receipts for the 2021 Q1 payments. 

Can we let our customers know? 

Absolutely. We believe that the end customer investing in a renewable energy system, whether that's a home-owner or a business will care about the source of their panels, and about buying them in the most environmentally sound way they can. We're happy to discuss the initiative, or give any more detail to your clients if they're interested.

We're also open to suggestions for projects or organisations to support with the fund. We'd like to alter it from time to  time, but also not spread the funds too thin. The fund is likely to grow though - we sold 4 times as many panels in the first quarter of this year as we did the previous one, and still more again in the second quarter.    


What about those t-shirts? 

Well, that's a bit of fun to celebrate our relaunched brand, an exciting 15 years in the industry and to make sure that there's another way for money to enter the fund. 

All proceeds from the branded range go to the fund, and they are made in the UK from 100% organic cotton, in factories powered by renewables. Rapanui is the company that produces them.  The site to get them from is midsummer.teemill.com 

You'll see the Midsummer team sporting these at trade shows and our training events and open days.