UK equips schools with solar panels

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Schools in the United Kingdom could be among the next recipients of solar panels, and these schools would be able to reap both the energy-related and financial benefits. Following one solar panel provider’s offer for free installation on houses, energy provider GE has teamed up with British green-energy company Solarcentury to make solar panel installation easy and affordable for English public schools.

As part of Solarcentury’s Solar4schools program, over 250 schools have already been outfitted with solar panels in the UK. In the next two years, Solarcentury and GE claim they will be able to provide panels to hundreds of additional schools. The Solar4schools program offers affordable installation of solar panels for schools, since it eliminates all of the initial costs except for a nominal deposit paid by the school. GE Capital covers the rest of the installation costs, and the school can then pay back these costs using revenue from the Solar Feed-In Tariff.

This tariff pays renewable energy sources for electricity sold to the main grid, for a guaranteed period of 25 years. It was implemented in April by the Department of Energy and Climate Change as a way of encouraging the construction of solar power sources.

The schools would have 15 years to pay back the installation costs, and after these have been covered, the solar panels and electricity generating technology would belong to them. At this point, all revenue from the feed-in tariff could be used by the schools as needed.

Along with the solar panels themselves, the Solar4schools program offers educational materials to the schools they work with, providing children with information about renewable energy and the logistics of solar power.