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Bristol academy leads the way on green investment

City Academy Bristol has installed almost 1,000 solar panels on its buildings

Posted by Stephanie Broad | February 04, 2016 | Sustainability

City Academy Bristol recently carried out an ambitious installation of solar panels on five roofs across the main buildings and sports hall. In total, 979 panels were placed on the roof, and wired up to five large inverters that convert the DC electricity produced to AC electricity that can be used by the school. The maximum output of the system on a sunny day is 250 kW - enough to power 15,000 fridges or 200 homes. 

The panels will generate around 220,000kWh of electricity per year, which represents 20% of the Academy’s total electricity consumption. They will remain in place for at least 25 years, bringing lasting benefit to the Academy and the environment. 

This £300,000 project is managed by Green Nation, a leading solar energy business established in 2011 and based in Somerset. Investment backing was provided by Stellar Asset Management of London.  

The Academy will buy the electricity generated at a significant discount to the price it pays for conventional electricity bought from the grid.

As well as saving money, the solar PV system delivers significant environmental benefits. The electricity generated is 100% carbon free and therefore results in a saving of carbon that would otherwise be created by grid electricity. 

Compared with electricity from a modern Gas fired power station, the solar electricity at City Academy will save 87 tonnes of CO2 every year, equal to more than 2,000 tonnes over the lifetime of the system. The carbon saving is even greater if compared with older coal-fired power stations.

Jonathan Thompson, Chief Executive of Green Nation, said: “This is one of the biggest solar projects on any school or academy in the country, and due to an imminent change in Government support for solar power, had a tight deadline for completion. We’ve worked with quite a few educational establishments around the country on solar power projects, and were blown away by the speed and professionalism with which Maria Townsend (Finance & Operations Director of OWLT, CAB) and her team at City Academy Bristol negotiated the agreements and organised the permissions necessary to make this project happen. Bristol City Council, the EFA and grid operator Western Power Distribution also went beyond the call of duty to make the project possible, and IDDEA then built the system to a very high quality during the short days and stormy weather of December. Their combined work will bring clean power and cost savings to City Academy Bristol for decades to come.”  

Jon Angell, Principal at City Academy said: “One of the many things that we teach our students through Science and Geography is the impact of climate change and the need to live more sustainably. To be able to show that we are taking steps as an academy to work in a more sustainable way helps reinforce this teaching and learning.”

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