Harnessing solar power for the benefit of Hampshire schools
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
More Hampshire schools will be able to harness the power of the sun to help reduce their energy bills in future, as solar panels plan to be fitted on up to 20 school extension projects by Hampshire County Council over the next four years.
All new primary schools built by the County Council already feature solar PV technology, and in future, technical appraisals for possible solar panel installations will now be carried out on all schools identified for extension across Hampshire.
County Council Leader, Councillor Ken Thornber, said: "Solar PV panels on new primary schools and now school extension projects, can not only help schools to deliver savings in their energy consumption equivalent to lighting a classroom for four months, but they are also another way to help achieve energy reduction targets, particularly as schools make up around 60% of the County Council's total carbon emissions.
"We currently have around 30 solar PV installations on Hampshire schools and this programme is likely to double this over the next few years. Each new school extension scheme, regardless of the governance of that school, will be assessed to explore whether solar panels are suitable, and installed where appropriate.
"As is the case with the 1,800 smart meters we have already installed in Hampshire schools to help them measure their electricity and gas usage, these new solar PV panels will also benefit pupils in the classroom who will be able to tie in with the curriculum, the learning opportunities that come along with this technology. Armed with this knowledge, and the advice and tips we also provide on how they can save energy, they will be able to actively identify patterns, times of high consumption and unusual energy use levels, and take positive steps to tackle any issues."
The County Council has a strong track record when it comes to carbon reduction and energy cost savings, having recently exceeded its targets for a second year running, for cutting emissions from its buildings, schools, street lights and other operations.
Much work already takes place in schools to drive down carbon emissions in addition to positive behavioural change and focus on good energy management. This has been at the heart of the County Council's Carbon Management plan and work with its 498 schools. In addition to the smart meters in schools, there have also been a raft of measures to improve lighting, glazing and improved heating systems.
In addition, the County Council is fitting 1,500 boiler control devices in Hampshire's schools to save an estimated 10% from their heating fuel bills.