The solar installations in the UK just keep on coming, with the largest yet completed at the Matthew Arnold School in Cumnor, Oxford. The award-winning author, Philip Pullman, revealed the 100kW solar panel system.

The £290,000 system joins the 50kW installation on the roof of the Aldi store just down the road in Botley Road. Both systems were funded by West Oxford Community Renewables and launched on the same day.

The school’s system is made up of 550 panels in four sections on the school’s main assembly hall and classrooms and on the school science block. The electricity they generate will be sold to the school and to the supermarket, and profits will be passed to climate change campaigners Low Carbon West Oxford to reinvest in future green initiatives. Any surplus energy the panels produce will be sold to the National Grid.

Together, with a little help from the feed-in tariff, both systems are expected to generate about £50,000 over 25 years for reinvestment in local green initiatives.

Headteacher at the school, Katherine Ryan, said, “This project is already integrated into science lessons as part of our investigation of alternative energy sources. It’s great for the pupils because they can see the panels working every day and we can take the electricity readings.”

Brady O’Brien, 14, from Headington, said, “I think we are leading the way for other schools to follow.”

Mr Pullman, who lives in Cumnor, said, “I hope Matthew Arnold will be the first of many schools in the country to do this. It’s a wonderful initiative and shows what can be done with a bit of enterprise and hope.”

West Oxford Community Renewables received an £800,000 grant last year from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which was used to fund the projects.