Monday, 30 January 2012

#saveoursolar starts to pay off for #rdg schools

I am so excited by this, as it's great to see something actually happening after I proposed a motion in my first council meeting (after the Mayor making) to get this off the ground.  I always use it as an example of how a backbench opposition councillor can make a difference.


Two primary schools and a children's centre in Reading are the first in the borough to have solar panels installed on their roofs under a Council scheme to tackle rising energy costs and reduce the town's carbon footprint.

Ranikhet Primary School in Tilehurst, Christ the King Primary in Whitley Wood and Caversham Children's Centre are all having solar panels fitted on top of their school buildings this week.

By using solar panels to generate power, energy bills will be cut. Solar energy is environmentally friendly and will help reduce bills too.

The Council launched a significant investment scheme last year to invest in schools and public buildings   such as children's centres, libraries, sheltered housing units and community centres - in order to generate energy efficiency savings in the long-term.

The scheme sees an initial spend to save investment of around £5million, which would be repaid, with a Government tariff scheme funded by the energy companies, paying Reading Borough Council for each unit of electricity the panels produced.

The solar panels are due to be installed by British Gas at all three sites by the end of this week. Each school will then put up real time energy monitors in their reception areas to demonstrate to its pupils the renewable energy being generated by the sun and the carbon savings being achieved as a result.

Paul Gittings, lead councillor for environment and climate change, said: 'The Council is committed to using forms of renewable energy to generate savings on the energy bills of public buildings and this project is a great example of how that can be achieved. The investment will ensure some real savings in the medium to long-term which will benefit everyone living in Reading.'

John Ennis, lead councillor for education and children's services, said: 'Its great to see children's centres and schools being the first in the borough to receive solar panels and benefit from the savings produced from using solar energy. I am sure many children at our primary schools will get a lot out of seeing how renewable energy is generated.'

In addition to the panels being installed at Christ the King, Ranikhet Primary and Caversham Children's Centre, solar panels are also being introduced at EP Collier Primary School in York Road.

The school has recently reached its target of raising over £10,000 from businesses, community and individuals to install solar panels on its roof after signing up to take part in the Solar Schools scheme run by the charity 10:10.