St Leonards school goes green with new solar panels

Solar panels at West St Leonards School. Pictured: Site Manager Chris Parker
Solar panels at West St Leonards School. Pictured: Site Manager Chris Parker

A PRIMARY school has gone green and embraced solar power.

West St Leonards School, in Harley Shute Road, has 120 solar panels installed on its roof and is already seeing the benefits with a drop in its electricity bill and its pupils learning about environmentally friendly methods of generating power.

The school was one of a number of schools across East Sussex that were approached by the company RenewTech with the offer to install the panels at no cost.

West St Leonards School has a 25-year lease on them and RenewTech looks after their maintenance, while the school gets free electricity.

Chris Parker, the school’s site manager, said within the first two weeks after the panels were put up they had generated 2,500 kilowatts of power.

He added that the system does not need the sun fully out to work but the panels work best on sunny days with no clouds.

Mr Parker said he believed the solar power will save anywhere between £2,500 to £5,000 a year.

He added: “We are now saving more money and this is allowing the school to concentrate on buying resources rather than using more money on electricity bills.

“It’s a big saving, as the panels were installed free of charge as well.

“Electricity rates will be going up over the coming years and having solar panels is part of the school’s push for renewable technology.

“It’s great for the children and their parents as they realise you can get power from the sun, and at the same time help the environment.”

Frances Robinson, headteacher at West St Leonards School, said: “The school site manager and our eco-warriors have been working all year to reduce our energy costs and make us a more eco-friendly school.

“Mr Parker managed to secure a grant to have the solar panels fitted and we are already making considerable energy savings. We are using the money we have saved to buy resources and currently are looking at getting 20 iPads for pupils to use in class.”