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News19th April 2024

Ark schools in Birmingham go solar

Two Ark schools in Birmingham are the first to benefit from a new partnership between National Grid Electricity Distribution and Solar for Schools.

Ark Victoria Academy and Ark Kings Academy have both been fitted with new solar panels. The installations were part-funded through a grant from National Grid, which has pledged £2.7m of investment by 2028 to help schools reach to net zero goals.

The schools have already seen a big drop in their energy bills, with projected savings to be more than £1.2m over the lifetime of the panels. They’re also expected to save more than 1,153 tonnes of CO2; equivalent to taking 260 fossil-fuelled cars off the road for a year. The savings made by the schools will be reinvested back into education or vital school infrastructure.

As part of the project, around 2,000 students at the two schools took part in hands-on educational workshops, assemblies and a library of STEM-related resources, covering energy, efficiency, sustainability and economics.

Ellie Patey, National Grid Electricity Distribution’s Community Engagement Manager, said: “The solar installations and engagement with students at both Ark Schools mark an exciting step in supporting our communities to decarbonise. Working together with Solar for Schools, our grant has unlocked significant financial and carbon savings, and educational benefits over and above what could have been achieved working in isolation.”

Ann Flaherty, Solar for Schools UK Director, said: “Our education programme links the solar on the roof with the curriculum in the classroom. We always say, learn from your school buildings not just inside them. By getting solar on the roofs of schools we’re empowering students and helping them see they can do something locally to reduce carbon, that helps nationally to meet targets, and that’s globally helping to reduce our emissions.”

Bryan Knope, Head of Estates for Ark Schools, said: “We’re delighted to have received this National Grid funding and to be working with Solar for Schools to install photo voltaic panels at our schools in Birmingham, London and Hastings. Reducing CO2 emissions is a top priority for Ark. We’ve set ourselves a tough target to cut consumption by 20% this year, and solar is one of the tools Ark is using to improve sustainability.”

Knope added that the live energy-savings dashboard provided by Solar for Schools is also helping Ark to form a more detailed picture of consumption. “Together with smart metering, we’re now able to report in more meaningful ways and use this data to shift behaviour,” he said.