Saving money and reducing carbon emissions are just some of the benefits West Sussex schools will enjoy as they switch to solar power.
West Sussex County Council today made the decision to invest £3 million in the scheme, enabling 48 schools to install the renewable energy.
It follows eight schools in the county successfully trialling the programme in 2015.
Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, told The Sussex Newspaper: “This is excellent news. Installing solar panels across 48 sites will have incredibly positive impact, not only on these schools involved but also on the local economy and the environment. I am proud that West Sussex continues to follow through with its commitment to sustainability.”
Working with schools on renewable energy generation was identified as a priority in 2016. It is part of the Action Plan which accompanies the County Council approved Energy Strategy.
As well as reducing carbon emissions by an estimated 772 tonnes a year, schools can expect to save £2.2 million over a 25 year period.
West Sussex County Council will also benefit. As schools pay no installation or maintenance fees for the panels, they will buy the electricity produced from the council for a reduced fee. This will result in a net income of £1.7m across the 25 year time frame.
The project even presents a learning opportunity for West Sussex pupils. Witnessing solar power first hand will broaden their understanding of sustainable energy sources. This will be supported by an educational pack which has been developed to complement the scheme.
Installation will begin at eight to ten schools within a similar location. Over the course of the year the rest of the county will be included.
Today’s decision to install solar panels, which is subject to a call-in period, will be managed by Your Energy Sussex – a County Council-led partnership with local councils – and delivered by local, experienced companies.