Last March, with the help of the Renewable Energy Cooperative (R-ECO), Cornwall College was able to install and register three different solar systems before the feed-in tariff reductions took hold. Six months later the college has revealed the extent of its savings.  

Truro-based R-ECO installed 150kWp worth of solar capacity across three of the college’s campuses: Cambourne, St Austell and Saltash.

Cornwall College’s St Austell installation has generated 39,000kWh of electricity since its installation, saving around 21 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere in the process. Similarly, the solar array at Camborne has generated 35,000kWh over the six month period, saving 19 tonnes of CO2.  Finally, the installation at the Saltash campus has provided the school with an additional 33,000kWh of clean electricity and saved a further 18 tonnes of carbon emissions.

In total, the three solar installations have saved the college £37,000 since they were installed.

Dave Linnell, Principal of Cornwall College, commented: “Sustainability is a key factor in the way we operate. The solar panel installations followed a successful initial trial at our Newquay campus which has been running since early 2011; it was only natural to roll this out to our other sites to increase the benefits and reduce our carbon footprint further.”

In addition to fitting the solar arrays, R-ECO also supplied Cornwall College with three practice systems that students could use for part of various courses, including the Installation of Solar Photovoltaic Panels short course and the Renewable Energy Technologies foundation degree.

R-ECO’s Pat Hammond and Andy Tellam were on hand to help talk interested students through the college’s own installation. To further aid students, R-ECO installed monitoring software that allows the students to log in and view the real time performance of the array as well as analyse existing performance data.

Hammond concluded: “Creating links with the community is an important role of our function as a local co-op. Part of my training as an electrician happened here at the College so to have worked on the project and then come here and discuss it with the students, the installers of the future, was brilliant. Meeting the students was both interesting and challenging for us as designers and installers; they were a well-informed bunch who didn't hesitate to test our knowledge and understanding with their intelligent and well-informed questions.”