April 26, 2024

Low-Income UK Schools Embrace Solar Energy

National Grid is offering funding to schools in economically deprived areas, including Birmingham, to install solar panels and cut carbon emissions while reducing energy bills. The £2.7 million partnership aims to help these schools reach net-zero goals over five years.

Birmingham Schools Lead the Way: Grant Initiative Benefits Two Schools

According to Birmingham Live on Thursday, two Birmingham schools, Ark Kings Academy and Ark Victoria Academy, lead the nation by installing solar panels through a £2.7 million National Grid agreement, resulting in monthly savings of over £2,500 each.

Approximately 2,000 students from both schools engage in interactive workshops focused on solar energy benefits, supported by Northfield MP Gary Sambrook, who praises the initiative's substantial energy bill savings and student enthusiasm.

“The children showed great enthusiasm and have selected solar ambassadors to educate themselves about the environmental and financial advantages. I plan to reach out to other nearby schools to explore how they can also benefit from similar initiatives.” Mr Sambrook remarked.

Remarks from the Workshop Session

Jahziah, an Ark Kings Academy pupil who attended the session, stated: "It was a pleasant experience. I gained knowledge about the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy systems, as well as their operation.

"Solar energy is beneficial because it prevents harm to the atmosphere. Despite the fact that solar panels are produced using harmful gases, they will pay for themselves over time."

"Ark Kings has a high level of pupil preference," stated Jamie Taylor, the Ark Kings Academy's Head of Primary. "At that point, anything helps to be able to save that kind of money.

Community Benefit Society Solar for Schools Initiative

The Community Benefit Society Solar for Schools assists economically deprived schools in achieving net zero goals through grants for solar projects in South Wales, the South West, and the Midlands.

With a £2.7 million commitment, the initiative is a vital part of the Social Contract, aiming to enhance the environment and benefit local communities and employees. Anticipated savings from solar panels are expected to exceed £1.2 million, while also reducing CO2 emissions by over 1,153 tonnes annually.

Ellie Patey, the Community Engagement Manager, stresses the fund's objective to support more schools in adopting solar power, leading to reduced carbon emissions and energy costs.

"Collaborating with Solar for Schools enables our grants to yield substantial financial and carbon savings, along with educational advantages, surpassing what could have been attained through independent efforts," stated Patey.

Solar Energy Beneficiaries Hail the National Grid

Bryan Knope, Ark Schools' Head of Estates, thanked National Grid for funding solar panel installations across Birmingham. He emphasized Ark Schools' commitment to a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions this year, highlighting solar energy's importance alongside tools like Solar for Schools' live energy-savings dashboard

“We can now report in more meaningful ways and use this data to change behaviour in conjunction with smart metres,” added Knope.

The £2.7 million grant from National Grid will ultimately leverage additional funding for Solar for Schools, enabling approximately £10 million worth of solar projects to be implemented in schools that would otherwise lack the capacity to adopt solar energy.

Robert Schrimpff, CEO of Solar for Schools, expressed hope that other companies would emulate National Grid's example in driving significant change and decarbonization efforts. "We hope that more companies will take a cue from National Grid and push for significant change and decarbonisation,” He remarked.

The £2.7 million grant from National Grid enables the installation of solar panels in economically deprived schools, leading to substantial energy bill savings and educational advantages for students. Collaborating with organizations like Solar for Schools, these initiatives empower communities, reduce carbon emissions, and inspire broader sustainability efforts.

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