Solar school installation to help fund Olympian’s charity

  • Solar school.

    Feed-in tariff income from the 67kW install will benefit Ainslie's charity. Image: Low Carbon.

Low Carbon has completed a solar array in Portsmouth which is set to benefit both the primary school it has been installed on and a charity supported by Olympic sailer Sir Ben Ainslie.

The 67kW PV installation has been completed at the Northern Parade Infant and Junior School in Hilsea after Low Carbon facilitated and funded the project. The company worked in collaboration with local America’s Cup sailing team Land Rover BAR - captained by Ainslie - and its charity, the 1851 Trust, as well as Portsmouth County Council.

The panels are expected to deliver almost 65,000 kWh annually for the school to use, significantly reducing the running costs of the school buildings allowing budgets to be allocated elsewhere. The project is also intended to help educate pupils of the benefits of renewable energy and reduce the school’s carbon footprint by around 30 tonnes of CO2 every year.

Roy Bedlow, chief executive and co-founder of Low Carbon, and trustee of the 1851 Trust, said: “Low Carbon and Land Rover BAR share the same goal of mitigating the negative effects of climate change. Being part of this project presents a strong opportunity for us – to drive community involvement and engagement with renewables, and to educate the next generation as to benefits of renewable energy.

“This is the key to unlocking greater adoption of renewable energy across other schools, businesses and households across the country.”

Speaking to Solar Power Portal earlier today, Quentin Scott of Low Carbon added: “It’s a great opportunity to engage with a wider audience from a renewables perspective, particularly with the younger generation. It’s now within their school perimeter so it’s an opportunity to learn about climate change and renewable technology.

“It’s always difficult to get school children or the wider community out to see a [ground-mount] installation and learn about it so the school give us a direct opportunity to do that.”

The project was also supported by Portsmouth County Council. Cllr Neill Young, cabinet member for children services and education said: “The installation of these solar panels as part of the work to expand Northern Parade School is great – the school is more energy efficient and the creation of renewable energy will help reduce the school’s running costs. It’s also good for the pupils to see technology and renewable energy in action on their school.”

In addition to this benefit, subsidy revenue raised by the panels will be recycled into the 1851 Trust, which works to engage young people in sailing and the protection of marine environments.

Sir Ben Ainslie, team principal and skipper of Land Rover BAR, four-time Olympic medallist and America’s Cup winner, said: “Sports teams such as Land Rover BAR can play a powerful role in inspiring the next generation, educating individuals about the need for greater sustainability and driving positive change.

“We hope this project will not only help Northern Parade Infant and Junior School deliver on its sustainability goals, but also provide inspiration to schools across the country on the opportunities that renewable technology installations can bring to students, staff and the wider community”.


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