Sunny outlook for schools

  • 20th June 2024

Solar for Schools’ Danielle Parker talks to a student at Ark Kings about the potential of solar energy

Schools across South Wales, the South West, and the Midlands are set to benefits as part of a £2.7m commitment to help reduce carbon emissions and make energy savings.

The National Grid is working with Solar for Schools to offer grants to help schools in areas of high economic deprivation invest in solar technology in order to reach their net zero goals.

“This new fund aims to help more schools adopt solar power to decarbonise and to reduce energy costs. It’s also an important way to engage pupils in ways to reduce carbon and emissions”, said Ellie Patey, National Grid Electricity Distribution’s community engagement manager.

“Working together with Solar for Schools means our grants can unlock significant financial and carbon savings, as well as educational benefits, over and above what could have been achieved working in isolation.”

Two Birmingham schools are the first to benefit.

The Ark Victoria Academy and Ark Kings Academy have recently had new solar systems installed and have saved more than £3,500 in the last month alone, with projected savings forecast to be more than £1.2m over the lifetime of the solar panels.

The solar is also expected to save more than 1,153 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime; equivalent to taking 260 fossil-fuelled cars off the road for a year.

The savings made by the schools will be reinvested back into education or vital school infrastructure.

Ann Flaherty, Solar for Schools UK director, said: “We always say, learn from your school buildings, not just inside them.

“By getting solar on the roofs of schools we’re empowering students and helping them see they can do something locally to reduce carbon, that helps nationally to meet targets, and that’s globally helping to reduce our emissions.”

Bryan Knope, head of estates for Ark Schools, added: “We’re delighted to have received this National Grid funding and to be working with Solar for Schools to install photovoltaic panels at our schools in Birmingham, London, and Hastings.

“Reducing CO2 emissions is a top priority for Ark and we have set ourselves a tough target to cut consumption by 20% this year, and solar is one of the tools we are using to improve sustainability.

“The live energy-savings dashboard provided by Solar for Schools is also helping us to form a more-detailed picture of consumption. Together with smart metering, we’re now able to report in more-meaningful ways and use this data to shift behaviour.”

National Grid’s £2.7m grant will ultimately enable Solar for Schools to raise additional funding to enable about £10m worth of solar projects to happen.

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