UK energy provider to supply 1,100 schools with free solar systems

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The UK’s leading energy supplier, British Gas, has launched a £15 million project to supply 1,100 primary and secondary schools with free solar systems worth between £20,000 and £40,000 pounds per school over the next five years, reports PV-Tech’s UK sister site.

British Gas estimates that the scheme will generate approximately £1.3 million in revenues per annum under the UK feed-in tariff, which will be reinvested by the British Gas Energy For Tomorrow Trust, a ‘not for profit’ organization, established by British Gas to invest in low carbon projects. These funds will be used by Energy For Tomorrow to fund further free installations at schools across the country.

“This is the biggest investment of its kind in solar technology for our nation’s schools, which will help them cut both their carbon emissions and their electricity bills – as well as learn about renewable energy in a hands-on way,” commented Phil Bentley, managing director at British Gas.

The energy company will use its own subsidiary of trained staff to undertake all the installations. The company told PV-Tech that it is also in the final supplier selection phase for the program and a decision will be made soon. It would not say whether the company was evaluating a range of solar technologies such as thin-film for these planned projects.

Based on the retail worth of each of the solar system installations, British Gas could be installing between 4MW and 7MW in total over the first five-year phase.

Schools with the sufficient funds to install similar sized projects could see a revenue return from the FiT of between £40,000 and £85,000 over the 25-year tariff period. This amount also includes the energy saved by not having to purchase a certain amount of electricity from their supplier. The cost of the solar system would however have to be recouped from the revenue generated.

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