2021 saw Shinfield St Mary’s Primary School get even greener following the installation of 116 new solar panels across the school roof, allowing it to massively increase the amount of sustainable energy generated on site.
The new panels mean the school can now generate up to 43.5kw an hour at peak, enough to power over four family homes, as well as saving around 2.88 tonnes of CO2 from being generated since they were installed in August, the equivalent of planting 34 trees. The panels will also help the school tackle the spiralling costs of energy which look set to continue into this year.
“Schools like Shinfield St Mary’s are incredibly important for creating a net carbon zero future for Wokingham borough,” said Cllr Gregor Murray, executive member for resident services, communications and emissions. “They’ve made massive inroads in becoming greener, not just by making their property more energy efficient with projects like solar panels and LED lighting, but also by making sure their pupils learn all about the environment and how they can make a difference.
“From initiatives like their bio dome and tree planting, alongside pupil led activities such as biodiversity ponds and recycling, the school really sets an example to others as to what can be achieved. Being able to support them with important projects, like this new solar array, is something we’ve been very pleased to do.”
In addition to installing the new panels the council also presented the school with a set of solar powered educational kits aimed at helping pupils get hands on experience with using solar power to generate energy.
Matthew Knight, head of sustainability and ecology at the school, said: “Here at Shinfield St Mary’s Junior School we are constantly striving to make our community more sustainable. We aim to teach our children skills that will help them to protect the planet throughout their lives and beyond.
“Shinfield St Mary’s has been certified net carbon neutral for the past two years; but we are always looking for ways to improve. The energy team at Wokingham Borough Council has helped us to make incredible progress in reducing our carbon footprint. They worked closely with us to install a new solar array composed of 116 solar panels. This has had a dramatic effect on our energy usage. Preliminary research by our students is showing our electrical energy consumption has reduced by over a third. This is amazing news!
“Aside from the obvious benefits; children are also being taught first-hand the benefits of renewable energy. We are very fortunate to have been supplied with a display unit and solar investigation kits from the borough council’s energy team. These tools allow us to give children hands on experience of these great technologies.”
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