The Priory School in Lewes, Sussex is now home to a 37kWp solar array thanks to a joint project by OVESCO and Southern Solar. The community-owned array was born out of the excess funding raised by OVESCO’s first community scheme which saw panels installed on Harveys Brewery.

 The school’s 143 solar modules are expected to generate in excess of 35,000kWh of electricity every year, negating the emission of over 19 tonnes of CO2 in the process. During term time the school is expected to consume almost all of the energy generated and export the excess when out of term dates.

It’s hoped that the community array will allow the school to slash its energy bills by £3,000 per year, whilst investors should receive a 4 percent return per annum over the next 25 years.  

The idea was actually the brainchild of a student-run group called the Eco Group, who wanted to explore the possibility of installing renewables at the school.

Speaking to the Sussex Express, Ayo Okojie, a member of the Eco Group said: “We wrote a letter to OVESCO when we first heard about the scheme. We got the idea because some of us have solar panels installed on our homes and we thought it would be great if the school could have them too.”

OVESCO Director Dirk Campbell said: “Young people are acutely aware of the issues facing the environment and it’s important for them to know the older generations are taking action to safeguard their future. We are delighted that the students at the school have shown so much enthusiasm for the project.”

Tony Smith, Head of Priory School, said: “Our vision for the school was to become more sustainable and community-involved; our pupils really embraced the idea and were keen to do something bigger. At the same time the school was under pressure to reduce costs and I struggled to see how we could improve efficiency with little funds. In return for our roof space, the solar installation will reduce our energy costs while supporting a very worthwhile community initiative.”

Howard Johns, Managing Director of Southern Solar concluded: “Education plays an important role in empowering people and communities to generate their own energy and it’s something we’re keen to support.”