Bristol City Council has completed what is believed to be the largest solar schools programme in the UK.

In total 35 Bristol schools have received a solar PV installation, combining to produce 550kWp. The project was completed by solar installer Solarsense and is expected to save the local authority ~£60,000 each year.

The installations have been carried out as part of the Bristol Council Energy Management Unit’s £1 million PV for Schools programme.

Each project differed in size depending on the available roof space and orientation. One of the largest installations, completed at Ashton Vale Primary, saw a total of 25kW installed. Pupils are able to track the progress of the PV array through an interactive web page.

Ashton Vale’s Headteacher, Vivien Champeney, said: “Our new solar PV system has a significant financial benefit as we will not be paying for any electricity generated by the PV system and we will spend the money saved on improving teaching and learning for our children. It will also help them appreciate the importance of renewable energy.”

Bristol Council Leader, Barbara Janke, said: “This has been a very ambitious project working with 35 schools across the city that is helping to cut bills and save energy. There has been great enthusiasm shown for the project by the staff and pupils at Ashton Vale and in all the schools that have taken part, and they should be congratulated. This project is a good example of the type of investment we want to see on a much bigger scale through out £140 million energy investment plans.”

Steve Barrett, Managing Director of Solarsense, said: “Installing solar PV systems at so many schools is a very visible demonstration to the community of how renewable energy can reduce electricity bills and carbon emissions and help make Bristol the UK’s greenest city. All this solar PV will mean a bright future for the whole community as well as the schools involved.”

Bristol City Council also recently became the first city in the UK outside London to receive a £2.5 million grant from the European Investment Bank to meet the costs of developing a city-wide energy services company and investment programme.

The programme will spearhead renewable energy and energy efficient projects worth up to £140 million – including installing over 7,000 renewable energy generating systems on homes and public buildings and help to create up to 1,000 jobs in the construction and environmental technologies sectors.