Solar panels installed on roof of Hastings college campus

Solar panels on the roof of East Sussex College's Ore campus. SUS-190325-142422001
Solar panels on the roof of East Sussex College's Ore campus. SUS-190325-142422001

Work has finished to put community-funded solar panels on the roof of the Ore campus of East Sussex College.

The site will generate 237,500kwh of solar energy a year, according to Energise Sussex Coast – that’s enough to power 72 per cent of the college’s electricity needs.

The site was funded by community shares, with £131,100 of investment coming from local residents. The array will save the college £7,606 a year for the next 25 years and will also generate a community fund of nearly £100,000 over 25 years, which will be used by the college to further education into renewable energy and support community projects.

East Sussex College students are getting involved with the installation in a variety of ways.

Dave Houston, of Genfit the solar installers, said: “Genfit partner with community energy organisations to deliver renewable energy across the UK. Wherever we work we aim to engage with the local community in order to maximise awareness of renewables and their benefits.”

At Ore Valley Campus, Genfit will be facilitating supervised student access to the PV installation so they can see up close what’s involved and the equipment used.

Students will also have access to module level whole site monitoring system, via the Solaredge monitoring portal, and timelapse and drone footage of the ongoing project.

Dave Houston added: “At the end of the process we will hand over a promotional video for the college and other stakeholders to use to increase awareness. Students will be invited to spend time with our CAA approved drone pilot whilst capturing the final completion shots as we see use of drones in wider construction and facilities management sectors as a key growth area.”

Kate Meakin, of Energise Sussex Coast, said: “The college will become a beacon of how green energy can benefit our local area – saving the college money, educating the students and increasing the amount of locally generated green energy. We encourage other community organisations to talk to us about how they could also benefit from becoming generators of solar energy.”

The project is a partnership between Energise Sussex Coast, Brighton Energy Co-operative and East Sussex College, and is part of the 1066 Local Energy Campaign.

The investment offer is still open. Local people can invest their money and receive a return of five per cent a year. For more details visit Brighton Energy Co-op’s investment page https://brightonenergy.org.uk/product/join/.

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