A primary school in Portsmouth has become the latest to lead the charge for sustainability by completing an onsite rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installation, in partnership with several local organisations. The project at Northern Parade Infant and Junior School in Hilsea, Portsmouth means that the school will not only reduce its carbon emissions, but will also benefit from the use of free renewable electricity that will be generated by the panels. This will significantly reduce the running costs of the school buildings, and will allow budgets to be allocated to other key projects within the school.
The project was facilitated and funded by UK-based renewable energy investment company Low Carbon, in collaboration with local America’s Cup sailing team Land Rover BAR and its charity, the 1851 Trust. Portsmouth County Council has also offered support for this project.
The solar installation is comprised of 240 solar PV panels and has an expected annual production of 64,754 kWh - enough to power 21 homes. This equates to a total of 30 tonnes of CO2 being saved by the school every year. There is a tremendous opportunity for this school to help mitigate the negative effects of climate change while helping to educate school pupils as to benefits of renewable energy technology.
The project demonstrates how all key stakeholders are acting as responsible members of the community and are passionate about driving change within their local area. Not only will this installation save the school money and help reduce its carbon footprint, but it will also help engage the next generation and the wider community in the importance of renewable energy in the ongoing fight against climate change.
Low Carbon is a renewable energy investment company whose portfolio includes solar, wind, anaerobic digestion and concentrated solar power. Low Carbon has been working with Portsmouth-based sailing team Land Rover BAR, captained by Sir Ben Ainslie, for several years, most recently on the team’s sustainable HQ located on The Camber. The team is keen to be an active and engaged member of the wider community, which in doing so supports the aims and goals of the team’s charity – the 1851 Trust. This charity aims to inspire and engage a new generation through sailing and protecting marine environments, providing young people with the education, skills and training to become innovators of the future and stewards of the marine environment. To support the goals of the charity, any subsidy revenue generated from the installation at the primary school will be recycled into the 1851 Trust.
Roy Bedlow, Chief Executive and co-founder of Low Carbon, and Trustee of the 1851 Trust, commented: “Low Carbon and Land Rover BAR share the same goal of mitigating the negative effects of climate change. Being part of this project presents a strong opportunity for us - to drive community involvement and engagement with renewables, and to educate the next generation as to benefits of renewable energy. This is the key to unlocking greater adoption of renewable energy across other schools, businesses and households across the country. If the recent Paris Climate Change conference (COP21) taught us anything, it is that all levels of industry, sectors and individuals can play their part in the fight against global warming”.
Sir Ben Ainslie, Team Principal and Skipper of Land Rover BAR, four-time Olympic medallist and America’s Cup winner, said: “Sports teams such as Land Rover BAR can play a powerful role in inspiring the next generation, educating individuals about the need for greater sustainability and driving positive change. We hope this project will not only help Northern Parade Infant and Junior School deliver on its sustainability goals, but also provide inspiration to schools across the country on the opportunities that renewable technology installations can bring to students, staff and the wider community”.
Cllr Neill Young, Cabinet Member for Children Services and Education said: "The installation of these solar panels as part of the work to expand Northern Parade School is great - the school is more energy efficient and the creation of renewable energy will help reduce the school's running costs. It's also good for the pupils to see technology and renewable energy in action on their school."