‘Go solar’ offer to schools

The Oxford Times: From left, Anthony Simpson, of Low Carbon Hub, Adriano Figueiredo, of Oncore, and Steve Cappleman from the Cherwell School Picture: OX64830 Ed Nix Buy this photo » From left, Anthony Simpson, of Low Carbon Hub, Adriano Figueiredo, of Oncore, and Steve Cappleman from the Cherwell School Picture: OX64830 Ed Nix

A PROJECT is offering to install free solar panels on schools in Oxfordshire.

The project, run by Low Carbon Hub, aims to provide 500kw of power by installing about 2,000 panels at 10 schools – enough to power about 120 homes a year.

Primary schools, secondary schools and academies have until February 28 to apply.

Low Carbon Hub project manager Anthony Simpson said: “If we can get solar panels on 10 schools this year we might be able to extend the project next year.

“Following the switch-off of Didcot Power Station last year we need to generate more, clean energy.”

Power generated by the panels would be connected to the school’s own electricity system, but extra energy generated would be fed into the national grid. Profits from that would be split between the schools and Low Carbon Hub and its shareholders. The solar panels are being paid for through the sale of shares.

Of more than 300 schools in the county, Mr Simpson estimated only a handful have solar panels fitted.

Low Carbon Hub has so far helped fit solar panels on The Cherwell School, in Marston Ferry Road, Oxford and Matthew Arnold School in Cumnor.

The new project extends the offer out to all schools.

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The Low Carbon Hub would pick which schools would be most suitable and sign contracts in March. The scheme was launched after a similar project by Oxford North Community Renewables (Oncore) raised £110,000 last month for 259 panels to go on three new roofs at St Barnabas School and The Cherwell School.

The panels, to be installed on the Cherwell School over the summer, are the school’s second set of panels.

Oncore put more than 200 solar panels on two roofs in 2011 which generate around 47Kw at their peak.

Steve Cappleman, Cherwell philosophy, ethics and religious studies teacher, said: “We had the problem before that we were teaching kids about sustainability and the future but our own building didn’t speak to that. The kids can see the panels all the time.”

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