The UK arm of international solar developer Conergy has launched a solar schools initiative with the development of a 60kWp installation on a school in West Bromwich.

Conergy’s ‘Solar on Schools’ programme will see the developer work with nursery, primary, secondary and academy schools across the UK and offer solar installations without any up-front costs.

The developer will install the system and the school will sign up to a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Conergy to receive electricity at cheaper rates than those offered by utilities. The company will also offer life-time maintenance of the installation.

In addition, an education team within Conergy will arrange complementary site visits, workshops and assembly presentations on the subject of solar, designed to increase the awareness of renewable energy and environmental concepts with children.

The programme kicked off with its maiden installation at the West Bromwich academy last week and Paul Weaver, managing director at Conergy UK, said a number of schools had been in contact with the firm but were unsure whether or not it was the right choice.

“We have developed the ‘Conergy Solar on Schools Programme’ in a bid to provide not only insight on the whys and wherefores, but also the potential wider return on investment including how the data collated can feed into the learning of students; simply put, our objective is to make things easier for many people who are interested in renewable technology and, specifically, solar PV,” he said.

Schools and other education establishments have long been considered as a potential boon for the solar industry given how their usage profiles often coincide with when PV generates the most electricity. Despite this positive mix, schools have not adopted solar as widely as hoped and the lack of ‘solar schools’ in the UK – and in particular London – has been a particularly contentious point.

Last month energy secretary Amber Rudd offered hope for installers looking at the education market by stating that her department would be looking into what it could do to help stimulate the uptake of solar by schools, but that it would not extend to a relaxation of borrowing regulations.

Schools in the UK must comply with strict financial regulations and can only borrow money to use under specific conditions.