Schools to benefit from solar panel installations and renewable energy education

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Two Peterborough area schools are among the first to have solar panels fitted under a new scheme

An education trust has begun installing solar panels on its 30 schools as part of its commitment to be carbon net zero by 2030.

West Town Primary Academy, Peterborough, and Sawtry Village Academy near Peterborough, are among eight schools run by the Meridian Trust to be involved in the first phase of rollout.

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The Bluecoat School, in Stamford, is also in the first phase – with the remainder in the Cambridge, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire areas.

The roof of West Town Primary Academy, Peterborough, one of the first schools to have the solar panels installed.The roof of West Town Primary Academy, Peterborough, one of the first schools to have the solar panels installed.
The roof of West Town Primary Academy, Peterborough, one of the first schools to have the solar panels installed.

A spokesperson for the Meridian Trust said: “The first phase is expected to generate almost 900,000 kWh of energy resulting in a significant reduction of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere each year. The overall financial saving in the first year across all schools is estimated to be more than £300,000.”

With the support of property consultancy Barker Associates, West Town Primary Academy has already had its solar panels fitted. The remaining schools in the first phase will start installations over the course of this term.

Hannah Quinn, Principal at West Town Primary Academy, said: “We are thrilled to be benefitting from Meridian Trust’s solar panel installation initiative. This project not only underscores our commitment to sustainability and saving energy, but also provides an opportunity for our pupils to learn more about solar energy and the importance of renewable resources. The children are all really interested to learn about why this is happening.”

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As part of the programme, the aim is for pupils across the trust to learn about renewable energy through classroom projects. They will be given regular updates showing how much energy is being generated at each school and will watch live-streamed maintenance visits as the panels are serviced.

The roof of West Town Primary Academy, Peterborough, one of the first schools to have the solar panels installed.The roof of West Town Primary Academy, Peterborough, one of the first schools to have the solar panels installed.
The roof of West Town Primary Academy, Peterborough, one of the first schools to have the solar panels installed.

A live energy dashboard is used by Meridian Trust to monitor usage across school sites and to highlight areas where energy can be saved.

Martin Hair, Director of Estates at Meridian Trust, said: "At Meridian Trust, we are committed to not only providing top-tier education but also to creating a sustainable environment for our pupils and staff.

"These solar panel installations mark a significant milestone in our journey towards becoming net zero. The money saved will then be reinvested back into the education provision at each school.”

The aim is for all 30 of Meridian Trust’s schools to have solar panels installed over the next two years.

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