Forming one of the country’s major driving forces in helping children improve their green awareness, Eco-Schools has arranged for UK educators to participate in a new solar programme. Providing participating schools with free solar electricity the scheme is expected to roll out country-wise from today.

Eco-Schools’ solar initiative works by installing, maintaining and decommissioning solar panels at no cost to the school or the local authority, supplying them with free electricity, repairs, a display and monitoring system as well as a free Display Energy Certificate (DEC) for five years, which can cost schools up to £3,000. In return, Eco-Schools will benefit from the Government’s feed-in tariff payments.

The programme also provides an opportunity to link solar power with learning opportunities as part of the Eco-Schools awards and the opportunity to qualify for a Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Energy Award by achieving reduction in carbon emissions above 10%.

Keep Britain Tidy’s Eco-Schools Manager Andrew Suter said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for schools to reap the benefits of solar power and significantly reduce their energy bills and their carbon footprint at the same time.

“This blue-ribbon initiative offers schools an opportunity to gain in so many ways. It is the most significant scheme we have ever launched.”

Eco-Schools Solar programme is a one-stop solution to sourcing sustainable power to meet schools’ energy requirements and will enable them to make a saving on outgoings at the same time.

Secretary of State for the Environment Caroline Spelman MP said, “This programme links efforts to teach our children about the importance of preserving biodiversity, improving local environments and dealing with climate change with the practical action of using renewable energy.

“Not only will installing solar panels help with tackling climate change, they also make financial sense for the schools that use them.”

The Eco-Schools Solar programme is being managed by Winch Energy, which also arranges funding for solar projects with leading investors and banks in the renewables and sustainable energy sector.

Winch Energy’s Executive Chairman Nick Wrigley said, “Our new partnership with Keep Britain Tidy’s Eco-Schools underscores the synergies that exist between the public sector and private enterprise in helping to deliver on the UK’s energy and carbon reduction programmes. The programme aims to fund as many solar arrays for as many schools as possible over the next three years.”