Wednesday, September 8, 2010

School builds green future with solar panels

PUPILS took a green leap into the future when solar panels were installed at their school – thanks to a project launched by a parent.

Edward Feild School in Kidlington has installed 22 panels in time for the new school term.

The project, brainchild of parent Alan Asbury, will save the school £350 a year in fuel costs and teach youngsters about renewable energy.

Dad-of-two Mr Asbury raised the idea with staff and governors two years ago and then helped raise the £23,000 needed.

He said: “The new solar panels will hopefully raise awareness of the need for and obvious benefits of renewable energy.”

The panels will provide 3,500 kWh, roughly the annual electricity of an average household.

Pupils will be shown data explaining how much energy, cash and carbon has been saved.

School business manager Caroline Murray said: “Now the children can see the panels, they are very intrigued.

“They will be able to learn about them in their science lessons and the meter readings mean they can make graphs or monitor how the sun changes throughout the year.

“We’re very excited about the scope of this new equipment.”

The project was funded by the Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, and Barclaycard Pure.

Year Five pupil Fraser Day, nine, said: “It’s really cool to know that our idea has been put into action.

“We’re saving the school quite a lot of energy. We were going to have a wind turbine but we decided that it wouldn’t save as much money and they were too big.”

Erin Comess, also nine, said: “It’s really cool because we are saving energy and we can also sell the energy when we don’t need to use it.”

Headteacher Cathryne Wilkes said: “I’d like to thank Alan for his hard work and determination in seeing the project through to completion.”

Oxfordshire County Council is working with schools to cut CO2 emissions, currently about 36,000 tonnes a year.

Ian Hudspeth, cabinet member for growth and infrastructure, said: “This is a great example of the innovative ideas and hard work many of our schools are putting in to become more energy efficient and meet the environmental challenges of the future.”

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