Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was invited down to King Athelstan School in Surrey to officially unveil its new solar array.

The solar system was donated by a local business and consists of both monocrystalline and thinfilm modules. The systems were both registered by the end of April and had already over 2,000kWh of clean electricity by the time Ed Davey visited the school.

Damon Hart-Davis, the Governor who organised the installation said: “Solar power is good for the school, for the surrounding area, and for the planet: having solar power means that we can burn less gas and coal to make electricity for the country, leaving more for other important uses and reducing the threat of climate change.”

The school not only views the solar system as an opportunity to reduce consumption and bills by around 10 percent but also as a unique opportunity to involve and engage the students in sustainable practices. As part of the Eco-Schools commitment King Athelstan’s is encouraging students to do their bit for the environment by remembering to turn lights, computers, screens and projectors off when not in use, and keeping windows and doors shut in the winter as far as possible. The students are taught that, whilst not as pretty as new solar panels, 'conservation' can actually do more to save the planet and keep funds for teaching and learning.

However, the school will be embracing the educational element of the new solar array. The school will be encouraging its students to investigate the claim that thin-film panels will perform better than mono panels under cloudy conditions by analysing the sites’ generation figures.  The school will also be teaching students why the array’s output will vary from day-to-day, month-to-month and why intermittency is one of the biggest issues facing renewable energy generation.