The King's School In Macclesfield
Schools across the UK are looking harder at solar, both to reduce energy costs, their carbon footprint and to deliver a learning opportunity for their students. King's in Macclesfield has started this journey with a £200,000 investment in solar PV covering 800 square metres of the roof of its Sports Centre, helping massively reduce the energy costs for the centre (with swimming pool, sports courts, dance studio and indoor cricket centre) which is not only used by the school but serves the community out of school hours. Positive early data during this first academic year shows the panels are likely to pay for themselves within four years.
The Solar PV panels were fitted by the award-winning employee-owned trust Solarsense who have donated additional panels to support the school’s GSCE project work looking at the science behind the energy conversion systems. Pupils are recording and analysing data collection as the panels are used in a feasibility study to see if the Main School, Music and Junior School blocks on the campus can be fitted with their own solar systems and the difference that would make. The extra panels are also powering the aeration systems to boost wildlife in the school's on-site ponds used in outdoor learning programmes.
"We love working on projects like this one - being part of the school's ambition to become a net zero energy user and seeing the work we do drive understanding of renewables," says Stephen Barrett, MD of Solarsense, an award-winning company he founded 30 years ago before solar became one of the leading sources of renewable energy. The company has since delivered over 14,000 installations across the UK, schools among them, and taken solar PV overseas into countries like Ethiopia and Senegal as part of their charity programme.
"King's wants to set an example to its present and future students who will inherit the planet we leave behind," says the school's Bursar and Director of Finance Jonathan Spencer Pickup, who told us the school has already completed a major redesign of its waste disposal systems to eliminate any waste going to landfill.
"Conservation is a major issue for all our young people and we are determined to show that their community is doing its level best to meet their concerns. It will also enable us to continue to operate the Sports Centre as a community-based facility without the worry of potentially escalating costs."
Chris Ellis, director of Control Energy Costs which works with businesses across the UK and which has looked after King’s Energy projects (procurement and compliance) for over 25 years added: “I think it’s important and exciting that schools and other organisations are looking at solar PV power as an option not only to meet their environmental ambitions but for energy security. The combined expertise of Solarsense and Control Energy Costs can deliver renewable projects to schools and industry, supporting them in their journey to reduce carbon emissions and a path to Net Zero”.