A total of 754 solar panels have been installed on the roof of Temple Sutton School, providing 180,000kwh a year - around three quarters of the school’s electricity demand. Southend Adult Community College, meanwhile, has fitted 401 panels to their roofs, providing 90,000 kwh a year, approximately a third of demand.
The solar installations are just one part of a large investment programme in energy savings and generation at the sites, which will also include solar-thermal cells, biomass boilers, ground-source heat pumps, LED lighting, additional insulation, motor controls, heating controls and double glazed windows at the school. It is estimated that 437 tonnes of CO2 will be saved every year from the new measure – the equivalent to 219 hot air balloons filled with CO2.
The initial £1.9m investment is being made by the Council on the school and college’s behalf. The school and college will then use part of the energy cost savings to pay for the investment over the long term. Additional savings can then be used by the school and college to reinvest into education.
Cllr Mary Betson, Executive Member for Enterprise, Tourism & Economic Development, said: “The work by both the school and college highlights how forward-thinking education providers can harness environmental technology to become leaner and greener, thereby saving money which they can reinvest in education.
“Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is currently considering a whole raft of energy schemes that will not only reduce the Borough’s carbon footprint but also help residents and businesses alike to combat rising energy prices.
“Earlier this year we launched a new energy supply partnership, Southend Energy, which now has over 1,100 customers who are on target to have made a combined saving of over £280k in their first year.
“We’re also replacing every street light in the borough over the next two years with efficient LED lamps, enabling us to keep the lights on all night every night at a time when other authorities are having to turning theirs off to control budgets.”
Head teacher of Temple Sutton, Tim Barrett, said: “At a time when energy prices are rising and budgets are challenging, investing in green energy to save money long term is an extremely attractive proposition. However, for many schools, the initial outlay for solar panels, boiler and associated works can be prohibitive. That’s why we were delighted that the Council were able to underwrite the necessary finance and a solution for spreading out repayments in line with savings.
“The pupils at the school are really interested in environmental issues and have been keen to engage in activities around energy saving. There’s no doubt that green energy has an increasing role to play in meeting the country’s energy needs and we’re proud that our students will be at the forefront of the renewable energy revolution.”
Sue Hasty, Principal of Southend Adult Community College, said: “It’s clear that we all must find a way to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and that renewable energy is an important part of the energy mix in future. With prices for micro-generation such as solar panels coming down, this means that we are able to save money as well as carbon, leaving us more to invest in computers, e-learning technology and teaching resources.”