A school in Plymouth is one of the latest community buildings in the city to be getting a new solar roof.
Mayflower Academy in Ham Drive is having the solar panels installed following a recent ‘community share offer’ which enabled local people to buy shares in green energy projects in the city.
The community share offer was launched earlier in the year by PEC Renewables. PEC Renewables was set up by Plymouth Energy Community (PEC), an award winning Community Benefit Society, to fund and install locally-owned renewable energy installations.
Community share offers involve the public purchasing withdrawable shares which earn interest. As well as providing host buildings with a low-cost energy supply and valuable educational resource, the schemes are set to generate a community benefit fund for PEC’s projects helping residents reduce fuel bills and energy use. The project has also been supported by Plymouth City Council.
Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council said: “We are delighted that work is able to start on this fantastic project and the Council has been pleased to be able to work with PEC Renewables to make it happen.
“As a council we are committed to making Plymouth a greener, more environmentally friendly city and these solar panels will help Mayflower Academy save a significant amount on its energy bill, as well as provide a fantastic example of community-owned renewable energy in action. It’s a shame that the Government’s recent proposals fundamentally undermine this good work and put thousands of jobs at risk across the southwest. We call on Government to revise its support for community-owned small-scale renewables.”
Mayflower Academy is a school for 420 children with a nursery for 26 children, and also houses a support centre for 12 children with an Autistic Spectrum/Complex Communication Disorder from across the city. The Academy is run by a Trust sponsored by Plymouth University.
David Sammels, Headteacher of Mayflower Academy, said: “The new solar panels will not only save the school money but we will also incorporate it into the children’s learning about the environment and renewable energy.
“As the most rapidly improving primary school in the country, we look forward to enabling our pupils to study the data generated by our solar panels. The solar panels will be used to enhance pupil’s real life curriculum experiences. We are also excited by the prospect of our community developing a better understanding of how to both make financial savings whilst investing in their environment.”
Alistair MacPherson, Chief Executive of PEC, said: “The community share offer scheme has been a great success and provided renewable energy sources for local community buildings which will help a lot of people as well as the local environment. Last year’s project enabled 21 schools and community sites to generate energy from the sun.”
In addition to Mayflower Academy, the latest batch of community buildings to benefit will include Plymouth Life Centre, Heles School, Marine Academy, Coombe Dean School and Torbridge High. This year, the public were once again given the opportunity to invest and, after reaching their target amount of £850,000, combined with a £500,000 loan from Plymouth City Council’s investment fund, PEC Renewables can now start installing the panels.
For further information, please visit www.plymouthenergycommunity.com
For further information on DECC’s consultation proposing significant changes to the current Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-a-review-of-the-feed-in-tariff-scheme
Photos by Hazel Greenwood