Primary school near Banbury goes solar

Students at Middle Barton Primary School show off their new solar panels on its roof. NNL-150312-151922001
Students at Middle Barton Primary School show off their new solar panels on its roof. NNL-150312-151922001

Middle Barton Primary School has recently had 40 brand new solar panels installed on its roof.

The panels were fitted over October half term and will reduce the schools’ carbon footprint by providing clean renewable energy instead of being reliant on conventional fossil fuels.

George Allsworth, head boy at Middle Barton School, said: “The solar panels will help us with our learning because the money we save will be spent on resources for our classrooms.”

Head Girl Lucy Shankly added: “They look really good on the roof of our school.”

The panels are estimated to provide 10,024kwh of solar energy with 84 per cent used on the school site and the rest being fed back into the National Grid.

It is part of a wider project from the Low Carbon Hub that has seen 23 Oxfordshire Schools have solar panels installed as part of their Solar Energy for Schools Project.

This scheme aims to have 5,000 panels put in at these schools by April 2016, preventing the emission of up to 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Anthony Simpson, schools project manager at Low Carbon Hub, said: “Solar projects are an inspiration to children and staff, and also provide a uniquely effective educational resource.

“Children can monitor how much energy the panels are generating relative to the weather, learn about tracking these relationships in graphs, and gain a better understanding of climate change, renewables and community energy.”

Low Carbon Hub estimate they will save up to five tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Solar power, which harnesses the sun’s rays to generate electricity, will make a significant contribution to reducing the county’s carbon dioxide emissions and provide the school with discounted renewable energy for 20 years.

Another primary school in Banbury has also benefited from this project and has resulted in the largest solar installation in Oxfordshire and one of the largest in the UK.

Orchard Fields Community School in Prescott Avenue has just had 384 panels installed on its roof and features a unique device that allows the maximum generation of clean energy without overheating the cable between the school and the substation.

Dawn Shilston, head teacher, said: “This project has been an invaluable exercise in educating our pupils on the importance for us all to explore the possibility of using renewable resources for our energy.”