West Sussex schools sign up to join the solar revolution

West Sussex schools are looking to the future and generating their own electricity to reduce running costs and cut carbon emissions.

Tuesday, 29th March 2016, 7:38 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:38 am
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, and Pieter Montyn, local member for The Witterings, with pupils from East Wittering Community Primary School

East Wittering Community Primary School, Wisborough Green Primary School and Bourne Community College in Emsworth are three of several schools to have joined forces with Your Energy Sussex to install solar panels on their roof space.

The panels generate cheap, low-carbon electricity for the school to use during the day, when energy demand is at its highest.

Susan Parker, head teacher at East Wittering Community Primary School, said: “The opportunity was too good for the school to pass up and we are delighted that we did it.

“The system is clean and effective and will have a marked impact on the amount of energy that we pay for from our usual energy supplier.

“It’s also a great example to our children of how science and technology can be applied in a really practical way. I am sure that they will learn a lot from the project.”

Schools with the largest 30kW systems can reduce their energy bills by up to £6,000 per year and cut their annual carbon emissions by up to 40 tonnes.

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “The solar panels are already proving to be a shrewd investment for several schools which, by their nature, tend to use quite a lot of energy during the day when the sun is shining. I look forward to seeing more schools working with Your Energy Sussex in the future.”

The solar panels have been funded by Your Energy Sussex and installed by Carillion. The school buys the electricity at a discounted rate and the cost of the installation is paid back by income generated through feed-in tariffs.

The current schools project was not affected by the government’s reduction in solar feed-in tariffs earlier this year, because the installations were completed and registered before the changes took effect.

Other schools taking part in the solar project include Manor Green Primary School and Manor Green College in Crawley, Leechpool Primary School in Horsham and Sackville School in East Grinstead.

As part of this project, Your Energy Sussex has also provided each school with a specially-designed curriculum package with a broad range of learning resources to help teachers to design lessons about renewable energy and sustainability.

Your Energy Sussex, a council-led partnership that works with residents and businesses to promote energy saving and renewable energy, is exploring how it can support schools to save energy and reduce their bills within the new framework.

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