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Energy firm plans to install solar panels on five Cardiff primary schools


Cardiff Community Energy wants to install solar panels similar to this installation at Mead Community Primary School near Trowbridge. 

VOLUNTEERS from Cardiff Community Energy intend to install solar PV systems on five Cardiff primary schools.

The group that supports the environment and local economy hopes the panels will meet a substantial part of the schools’ energy demands.

Springwood, Pencaerau, Grangetown, Marlborough and Rumney primary schools have been selected for the project.

The systems will range from 3 kWp (kilowatts peak) to 49 kWp. Schools would buy solar electricity at about half the price of electricity from the grid.

The project will cost about £170,000 and schools will not be required to cover installation, maintenance or insurance costs.

Start-up costs will be met from a community share issue which is open to all and gives a chance to make an ethical investment and get a financial return.

The share issue is due to be launched in May, and preference will be given to CF postcodes if the share offer is over-subscribed.

Share holders should be paid four to five percent interest per year, and the project will run for 20 years.

The installation is planned to take place in the summer holidays so that the panels can be used from the start of autumn term. Schools will then be able to use as much or as little solar energy as they wish.

Director of Cardiff Community Energy, Tony Cooke, said: “This is our first big project and we selected schools for a reason.

“We thought it would be good for children to be able to learn about the importance of renewable energy while helping to reduce our carbon footprint at the same time.

“The aim was for all of our sites to be between 30 and 50 kWp, but due to local grid constraints, Western Power Distribution (who provide grid connections in Cardiff) have advised us that one of our sites can only have 22 kWp connected and another only 3 kWp.

“The latter is the size of a typical household installation.  Although being limited to 3 kWp is disappointing we feel that it is still well worth going ahead to provide an educational resource and raise awareness.”

The schools’ governing bodies will now discuss the proposal before final decisions are made.