Two large Swansea schools will see their energy bills reduced after having solar panels fitted in recent weeks.
Swansea Council is working in collaboration with Egni Co-op and the Welsh Government Energy Service to help the authority in its aims to become a net zero carbon by 2030 – and to make the net zero by 2050.
Together they installed a total of 200kW of rooftop solar on Morriston Comprehensive School and Cefn Hengoed Community School.
More than 500kW of rooftop solar has now been installed by Egni on Swansea schools – including Pentrehafod, Gowerton, Pontarddulais comprehensives, and Portmead and Glyncollen primaries.
Further Swansea school projects will follow and the partners are also looking at extending the scheme to non-school buildings.
Most of the electricity generated will be used at the schools, reducing electricity bills by £6,200 a year and cutting carbon emissions from the schools by about 1,400 tonnes over the next 20 years. Some electricity will be exported for use in the city.
Swansea Council was the first in Wales to partner with a co-op to install 360kW of solar through the award-winning Swansea Community Energy Co-op (SCEES). Egni has followed in their footsteps and Swansea will soon have installed more than 1,000kW through its pioneering cooperative approach.
Egni co-director Rosie Gillam said: “We’d thank the school and council staff who’ve made these installs possible in such trying circumstances, and also our installer, Ice Solar, who’ve worked hard. We’re really pleased that other Swansea schools are coming forward, keen to take part in the programme.”
Andrea Lewis, the council’s joint deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, energy and service transformation, said: “This is a positive way in which to welcome the new year. We’re delighted with this increase in clean green power at our schools in Swansea.
“The council has just published its Charter on Climate Action as a visible public reminder that we’re working hard to make the council and city net zero. I thank everyone involved for moving rapidly to take action in response to our climate emergency declaration.”
Jen Rayner, the council’s cabinet member for education improvement, learning and skills said: “The cost of these latest solar installations was funded by Egni Co-op and all surpluses will be spent on education projects so it’s a very good partnership approach for the council.
“The council is determined to take a lead on tackling the climate crisis and by working with Egni Co-op, we want to increase in the amount of renewable energy installed on our buildings.”
Egni Co-op is a community organisation that funds and manages solar installations in Wales. The Swansea schools panels are funded by Egni’s ongoing co-op share offer which has raised £2.2m to date and has a target of £3m. The rollout was supported by Welsh Government Energy Service.
Energy service senior manager Jim Cardy said: “This project is a great example of a social enterprise working closely with a local authority partner in Wales to tackle the climate emergency.
“We’re pleased to have assisted Swansea Council with technical support and grant funding to progress this rollout.”
Carl Bale, headteacher at Cefn Hengoed Community School, said: “Our staff and pupils are happy that we can now do more to tackle the climate emergency. Our Green Team are particularly delighted and they continue to successfully lead the school’s efforts to reduce our carbon footprint.”
Martin Franklin, headteacher at Morriston Comprehensive School, said: “Our students are eager to tackle climate change and it’s great that the school can now further reduce its carbon footprint. We’re delighted with our new solar panels.”
Lead image: New solar panels at Cefn Hengoed Community School (Swansea Council)