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Schools urged to make money while the sun shines

There won't be a better time for schools to make money by fitting solar panels, according to renewables company Redsky Solar

Posted by Stephanie Broad | June 11, 2015 | Sustainability

Schools installing solar panels now will not only save money on energy bills by making their own electricity, but can raise additional income from the Government’s Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) which reward schools for generating their own electricity.

But with rates looking likely to fall, Redsky is urging academies to install solar panels to their existing roof now, and fix the income they can generate for the next twenty years while rates are still high. 

Managing Director of Redsky and Fellow of the Institute of Roofing, Paul Smith, said: “At the moment schools can get paid for every unit of electricity they generate, but the FIT rate has been steadily falling over the last few years and we don’t want schools to miss out.

“Schools fitting solar panels now can lock in tariffs which are index-linked against inflation and fixed for the next twenty years, so now really is the time to convert to renewable energy.”

Redsky Solar installed a photovoltaic system on the roof of Ysgol y Gogarth, a special educational needs school, in Conwy in March 2014.

Headmaster Jonathan Morgan said: “The solar panels have led to a huge reduction in the overall cost of running the school.

“Over the past year we have saved over £9,000 on our electricity payments, and we are due to receive almost £8,000 from this year’s Feed-in Tariff payments. This is enough to fund an extra teaching assistant to support our learners - something which is a huge benefit in a school like ours.”

Schools can choose from a range of finance options to purchase solar panels, including several with no capital outlay.

Paul Smith added:“Redsky’s Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and asset finance options require no upfront payment, and Redsky can even support schools with crowdfunding if they wish to purchase the system outright.

“We know that cost is a concern for schools when considering solar, but benefits significantly outweigh the cost of installation over the life of the panels, and schools can start making savings as soon as the panels are installed. 

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