A new campaign headed by the British Photovoltaic Association (BPVA) aims to install solar across as many school rooftops in the UK as possible.

The ‘Powering Knowledge’ campaign claims that solar can help dramatically reduce the current £500 million spent on energy bills by UK schools every year. Powering Knowledge said that schools are prime candidates for solar installations because they have a considerable amount of space available.

Reza Shaybani, chairman of the BPVA explained how the campaign will work, he said: “We are offering schools across the UK the opportunity to install and benefit from free solar PV systems, which will help schools to reduce energy bills and enable them spend more money on education as well as reducing carbon emissions making our schools ‘greener’.”

Powering Knowledge said that there are a number of innovative financial solutions to enable schools to benefit from solar including, PPAs, crowd-funded finance, community share schemes and leases which allow solar to be installed at no upfront cost. It said that it will work with schools to ensure that a PV array is installed from an ‘accredited and approved installer’.

BPVA has brought together a number of bodies to help it with the Powering Knowledge campaign, including the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Amber Rudd, minister for energy and climate change said that solar can play a role in educating young people about our energy needs, she said: “Solar can not only help schools to take control of their energy bills but is also a wonderful way of engaging pupils, teachers and parents around helping the environment too…The BPVA’s Powering Knowledge campaign will ensure even more schools know about the benefits of installing solar and I welcome today’s announcement.”  

Shaybani concluded: “The benefits are tremendous for each school individually, as everyone wins by Powering Knowledge; students, schools, local residents, and even local and central government that no longer have to face ever increasing electricity prices. The great thing about this programme, is that it is simple to use, as well as being totally suitable for all types of schools from Local Authority (LEA), to academy status and independent schools.”

The BPVA, in conjunction with DECC and the Department for Education (DfE), will organise a one-day conference in late 2014/early 2015 to support the launch of Powering Knowledge. The conference aims to bring together ministers, policy makers, the education sector, local authorities and the solar industry to discuss the potential of solar on schools.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Friends of the Earth is a partner in the Powering Knowledge campaign. This is not the case.