Six Wakefield schools named to take part in solar powered classrooms scheme
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Wakefield Council has signed up to a £2m project as part of the local authority’s aim to become carbon neutral.
The scheme will see solar panels put in place on roofs and land at council-maintained schools across the district.
It is hoped it could lead to an annual reduction of 456 tonnes of greenhouse gas.
A meeting heard six schools have been chosen to take part in a pilot project from a short-list of 22.
They are: Ackworth Howard J&I School, Ackworth; Featherstone Purston St Thomas’ Junior School, Featherstone; Hendal Primary School, Kettlethorpe; Moorthorpe Primary School, Moorthorpe; Carlton J&I School, South Elmsall; Upton Primary School, Upton.
Surveys are due to be carried out at the schools and it is hoped installation of the panels can start next spring.
Helen Grayshon, the council’s climate change programme and partnerships manager, revealed details of the project to members of the climate change and environmental wellbeing scrutiny committee.
She said: “It’s a very exciting piece of work.
“We intend to roll out a pilot initially. This is a new departure for Wakefield.
“We haven’t had solar on any of our school buildings at the moment.
“We will be looking for carbon savings and a reduction in energy bills for schools.
“We hope that some of the anxiety around climate change will make young people feel that Wakefield is taking action.”
In July, the council’s cabinet agreed to work in partnership with Solar for School (SfS), a not-for-profit organisation.
The organisation would invest £2m in the project if all 22 short-listed schools take part.
It would retain the rights to sell any surplus electricity to the national grid.
It is hoped more of the 140 local authority-maintained schools in the district will become involved over the next two years.
Ms Grayshon said not all schools would be suitable to take part due to the lay-out of buildings.
The council has set itself a target of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.
Installation of solar panels on school roofs or land would enable a direct feed of renewable electricity to the school and be fed into the electricity grid network.
The council became involved in the project following a recommendation from West Yorkshire Combined Authority
SfS have worked with a number of schools and local authorities, including neighbouring Leeds City Council.
The meeting heard Kirklees and Calderdale councils are also considering taking part.