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Will Dragonetti from Spirit Solar and Richard Hooker, Head of Estates at King Edward's Witley

Solar energy solution for King Edward's Witley

The independent school is working with Spirit Solar to reduce their carbon footprint

Posted by Lucinda Reid | December 19, 2016 | Sustainability

With an appreciation of the environment and its fragility, together with the ‘Green Agenda’ regularly featuring as educational themes which underpin King Edward’s Witley’s overall vision statement, the school has embarked upon an exercise which represents an important step in working towards one of its long term aspirations: to reduce the school’s carbon footprint.

Delvin Poulter, Deputy Head (Co-Curriculum) said, “Our overall aim is to develop a greater pupil understanding of alternative energy production, rather than encourage a reliance on an ever dwindling supply of fossil fuels.”  

The installation of solar energy panels on the swimming pool roof represents a positive move towards achieving that goal and is the over-riding factor influencing the decision to invest in the initiative – over and above any resulting annual gains.

Working with Berkshire based firm Spirit Solar, the school has replaced the existing roof tiles with photovoltaic panels, using a special mounting system which enables the panels to form part of the roof itself.  This integrated system (as opposed to adding solar panels on top of roof tiles) is anticipated to generate 22,750 kWh of energy per year, for at least 20 years (the expected lifespan is around 30 years), representing a saving of 11,810 kg of CO2 per annum.

Put in layman’s terms, this equates to generating sufficient power in one year to:

  • Power six homes
  • Run 273,000 kettle boilers
  • Provide 300,000 hours of running time for a light bulb
  • Drive 31,000 miles in a family car

Over the course of the solar panel’s lifetime, the school’s actions will have equated to:

  • The planting of 18,000 trees
  • Keeping 120 cars off the road for a year
  • Not burning 9.6 tankers of fuel
  • Recycling 240 tonnes of waste (instead of sending them to landfill)

Commenting on the initiative, Erica Charles, MD of Spirit Solar said, “With a sizeable chunk of a school’s annual spend being attributed to electricity bills, investing in solar power not only helps King Edward’s play a responsible role in reducing its carbon emissions, it will also generate a significant income through payments from energy suppliers exporting power to the grid, ultimately resulting in a saving of some £5,000 per year.  In addition to these clear tangible benefits, the school will be setting an excellent example to its pupils, by helping them to appreciate the importance of businesses adopting an environmentally responsible approach to the procurement of energy. We were delighted to be chosen by King Edwards School to design and install the system.”

For more information, visit Spirit Solar’s website.

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