Shropshire council has completed the installation of solar arrays on 17 schools across the county, with the help of solar installer SolarTech Ltd. The £1.5 million project saw over 3,000 solar panels fitted to the schools in just four weeks.

The 670kWp of solar capacity fitted across the schools is expected to produce up to 600,000kWh of electricity a year, enough to slash a combined £60,000 off the schools’ electricity bills.  

The schools’ systems will also be tied into an online portal that will collate data on the systems’ performance. Teachers at the schools will be able to access the data to help illustrate lessons on sustainability and renewable technology.                                                                                                                                   

“This has been a highly successful project thanks to the experience and expertise of SolarTech, who were highly responsive and proactive in designing and installing 17 bespoke systems and liaising closely with the various parties involved, in order to keep within what has been an extremely challenging timeframe,” said Robert Wagstaffe, Project Manager for Shropshire Council.

The council estimates that, thanks to the associated feed-in tariff income, the project will pay for itself within ten years. In addition to the FiT income, all schools with a system will be able to benefit from unlimited use of the electricity generated on-site; out of term time, excess electricity will be fed back into the National Grid.  

The council estimates that the schools’ solar PV systems will slash over 300 tonnes of CO2 off the council’s carbon footprint, resulting in significant savings in the council’s ‘carbon tax’ liability under the CRC Energy Efficiency scheme.

“SolarTech is highly experienced in providing bespoke solar PV solutions, which are designed to maximise the carbon reduction, energy efficiencies and long term cost savings that both public sector and private sector organisations can make under the Feed in Tariff.  Schools are certainly one of the public sector organisations that have much to gain through the nationwide drive towards solar energy,” said Shaun Taylor, Managing Director of SolarTech.

Councillor Cecilia Motley, Cabinet Member for Carbon Reduction and Sustainability for Shropshire Council added:  “Shropshire Council recognises its duty to play our part in decreasing our carbon footprint in Shropshire and we have set ourselves a high target to push us to do the best we possibly can.

“It’s great to see our schools being the first to receive solar panels and benefit from using solar energy. I am sure many children at our schools will get a lot out of seeing how renewable energy is generated.

“Using energy more efficiently and harnessing our viable renewable energy resources will not only help our environment, but in these times of increasing energy costs will reduce consumption and bring financial savings.”