Initial Investment needed but it has its rewards!

Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun that is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, solar architecture, molten salt power plants and artificial photosynthesis.

>Every school has the potential to generate its own renewable energy.  As most schools have a large roof, solar PV (electricity) is generally the standout choice.  There are, however, alternatives, such as wind turbines, or for heat generation, biomass boilers or air/ground source heat pumps

How do they work?

1 – Solar panels collect sunlight

2 – Inverters convert solar power to usable electricity

3 – Solar electricity is used in the home

4 – Leftover solar electricity goes to the grid

5 – Electricity is measured by the net meter

The main benefits of going solar are:

Reduced electricity bills

Revenue generation

Reducing CO2 emissions

Education and engagement

A solar panel’s output is expressed in watts. On average, a domestic solar panel has a power output of around 265 watts, although it can range anywhere from as little as 225 watts to more than 350 watts. The higher the wattage of a solar panel, the more electricity it can produce under the same conditions.

To calculate how much electricity a solar panel will produce in a day, you simply have to multiply its wattage by the number of sunlight hours. For example, a home in Cambridge with a 280 watt solar panel that receives 4 hours of sunshine will generate 1,120 watt-hours (Wh) or 1.1 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity that day (280 x 4). In contrast, if that same home had a 320 watt solar panel, it would be able to produce 1,280Wh or 1.2kWh of power on that same day (320 x 4).

Solar PV for schools – Further Information, Finance & Funding

Here is a list of some of the currently available funding mechanisms that could help finance a school’s renewable energy project.  It should, however, be noted that this list is by no means exhaustive, and does not come with a formal government endorsement:

How do I finance my installation?

  • Schools can self-finance Solar PV installations outright where possible.
  • Funding solutions are also available where installers fund the cost of deployment and allow the schools to purchase electricity from their solar PV installation at reduced cost.
  • Crowd funding and more traditional school-based fund-raising activities can help schools to raise the capital they need from within their own community. 

Where can I get useful advice?

The Centre for Sustainable Energy ( ) and Which? ( & ) have both issued useful advice for domestic consumers, which may also have relevance for schools.

Are there any schemes in place now that the Feed-in Tariffs have ended? Check out the replacement scheme: Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme