Eco-Schools offers Free Power for Schools
23 May 2011
Today, Keep Britain Tidy’s Eco-Schools programme, England’s leading sustainable schools programme, is launching an ambitious scheme that gives every school in England the chance to cut their carbon footprint and save money at no cost to themselves.
The Eco-Schools Solar programme could enable each school to save an estimated 25 tonnes of carbon every year, reduce their energy bill by an average of 13.5% and save themselves up to £5,000 per year.
Together, the schools would be able to make a significant contribution to the government’s ambitious carbon reduction targets. If all 15,400 Eco-Schools in England took part in the scheme it could save up to 385,000 tonnes of carbon per year.
Keep Britain Tidy’s Eco-Schools manager Andrew Suter said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for schools to reap the benefits of solar power and significantly reduce their energy bills and their carbon footprint at the same time.
‘This blue-ribbon initiative offers schools an opportunity to gain in so many ways. It is the most significant scheme we have ever launched.’
Coupled with energy good practice, as supported by Eco-Schools, the savings resulting from Eco-Schools Solar programme could reach an impressive 30% reduction in a school’s carbon footprint.
As well as free solar power, Eco-Schools will be rolling out an education support pack in September providing teaching resources and learning opportunities focused on the use of renewables, environmental resources and the value of developing green technologies.
Eco-Schools Solar programme is a one-stop solution to sourcing sustainable power to meet schools’ energy requirements and will enable them to make a saving on outgoings at the same time.
The scheme means that schools can have solar panels installed, maintained and decommissioned at no cost to either the school or the local authority.
In addition, the electricity generated is made available for the schools’ use without charge and there is an annual income for the schools from renting out rooftop sites, funded from the surplus power sold to a utility arranged by the Eco-Schools Solar programme.
Secretary of State for the Environment Caroline Spelman MP said: ‘This programme links efforts to teach our children about the importance of preserving biodiversity, improving local environments and dealing with climate change with the practical action of using renewable energy.
‘Not only will installing solar panels help with tackling climate change, they also make financial sense for the schools that use them.’
The Eco-Schools Solar programme is being managed by Winch Energy, a leading solar PV development group, which also arranges funding for solar projects with leading investors and banks in the renewables and sustainable energy sector. The Eco-Schools Solar programme has been designed so that participating schools will not have to look to their own resources to enjoy the benefits of solar power.
Winch Energy’s Executive Chairman Nick Wrigley said: ‘Our new partnership with Keep Britain Tidy’s Eco-Schools underscores the synergies that exist between the public sector and private enterprise in helping to deliver on the UK’s energy and carbon reduction programmes. The programme aims to fund as many solar arrays for as many schools as possible over the next three years.’
The Eco-Schools Solar programme is supported by the Ampere Equity Fund which is managed by Triodos Bank, one of the world’s most ethical banks and the market leader in sustainable banking with more than 30 years’ commitment to the renewable energy sector.
Joris Van Der Geest, Chief Investment Officer for the Ampere Equity Fund said: ‘Eco-Schools Solar is supported by Triodos Bank’s Ampere Equity Fund. Ampere is a renewable energy fund backed by pension funds having an interest in solar investment for the long-term.’
Schools can register for the scheme from today and have until July 31, 2011, to submit applications on a first-come, first-served basis.