UTTOXETER’S only high school is set to cut its energy costs by becoming one of 25 schools to be fitted with solar panels.
Thomas Alleyne’s High School, in Dove Bank, will be fitted with solar photo-voltaic (PV) panels as part of a £1 million investment by Staffordshire County Council to boost the use of renewable technology and make savings at 25 of its schools.
The funding will be made available by a community benefit society, through a Solar Share offer and the scheme is estimated to save around £90,000 of electricity costs per year for the schools.
Denise Crocker, Thomas Alleyne’s director of finance and admin, said: “We are very excited to be able to be part of the Staffordshire scheme to install solar panels.
“They will be installed on two of our flat roofed buildings in the coming months – we don’t yet have an installation date.
“Not only will they produce electricity that we can use and thereby reduce our energy bills, but they will provide us with a new teaching resource to teach our pupils about renewable energies.
“We will be able to track how much energy is being generated through a display panel which will be on view in a public area.
“In conjunction with this, the school will be running an energy conservation project to encourage both staff and pupils to be more energy efficient.”
The council said that the use of renewable energy will cut its carbon emissions by up to 7,329 tonnes over the course of the project.
Ben Adams, the authority’s cabinet member for learning and skills, said: “We’ve been working hard over the last few years to help reduce energy costs across all council services including schools. This project will see the schools benefit from free, environmentally friendly electricity, allowing them to invest their funds in other areas that will help enhance the education for pupils.
“Cutting back on energy usage is not only great news for our schools but also for our council tax paying residents as we continue to reduce energy bills and cut our CO2 emissions.”
Andy Heald, from Generation Community Limited, added: “The investment scheme empowers local communities, who can get involved and benefit from the profits of the project.
“It is a community partnership, allowing people to support their local school and community, and is an innovative way of raising funds for the benefit of Staffordshire towns and villages.
“People have the individual choice of whether to invest in their local scheme, with the risks and benefits that any financial investment can carry.”
The council said the £1 million investment is one its energy saving initiatives running alongside other schemes using renewable energy and capital investment in more efficient plant and equipment. Solar panels have also been installed on council run libraries and the new headquarters is said to have one of the highest energy efficiency ratings.
Further information on work to reduce energy costs is available from Phil Kingston of the Climate Change team on 01785 277260.