South Somerset Community Energy and Holyrood Academy are delighted to announce that they have signed an agreement for a free solar photovoltaic (PV) system that will save the school an estimated £6,000 a year.
The installation is well under way and will be completed and commissioned by the end of this month. This follows the completion and commissioning of similar systems at Westfield Academy (Yeovil) in December 2016 and Stanchester Academy (Stoke-sub-Hamdon) two weeks ago.
The 92 kWp Holyrood Academy solar PV system will have a total of 354 panels on the roofs of the main building and sports hall at the upper site. It is expected to generate 80,000 kWh and save 43.4 tonnes of CO2 in an average year.
Getting to the agreement was a hair-raising eleventh hour effort by Holyrood Academy, Somerset County Council, South Somerset Community Energy and their award-winning installer Solarsense UK, as it was dependent on completing separate in-principle legal agreements in the nick of time!
South Somerset Community Energy had advised the Academy that the other legal agreements had to be in place by the 31st August or there would not be sufficient time to commission the installation before the ‘pre-accreditation’ period set by Ofgem ran out. In fact the news of the legal agreements came through in an email at 10.21 pm on the 31st August with under two hours to spare. Even then, the final arrangements were touch and go. In fact, the deal was actually called off on the afternoon of the 2nd September, as it seemed that it was just too risky for Solarsense to proceed. However, at 4am on September 3rd, Stephen Barrett (Solarsense MD – who was on holiday in Bali) emailed to suggest a way through. After further concerted activity, an agreement was signed on the 8th September by South Somerset Community Energy and the Academy, and the order was placed with Solarsense.
John Clark, Secretary of South Somerset Community Energy said, “This was a phenomenal act of teamwork between all concerned. The deal was literally brought back from the dead, but now the Academy will have its free solar PV system and South Somerset Community Energy its third major project. This will allow us a further opportunity to raise a community fund for more projects and the relief of fuel poverty.”
Martin Brook, Principal of Holyrood Academy added, “We are delighted that this project has gone ahead and it is a really good example of a local partnership working together for the mutual benefit of all, so it was good to see common sense prevail as the deal was resurrected and pushed through at the last minute. From the Academy’s perspective, it feels like a ‘win-win’ situation, as it will bring our energy bills down but at zero cost to the Academy. I would like to thank all involved for making this happen.”
Stephen Barrett, MD of Solarsense commented, “Now that solar PV systems can produce electricity cheaper than that supplied from the National Grid, schools and universities can all benefit from energy savings. Which is great news for the education sector as well as the planet.”
South Somerset Community Energy has launched its third share offer to raise the balance of the capital for the project. The Society is offering a target 6% interest for an investment between £500 and £25,000, with the capital to be repaid between years 6 and 20. Those attracted by an ethical investment with a good return can find out more and subscribe by going onto the society’s website www.SSCom.Energy. At the time of writing the share offer is already over 40% subscribed. Those interested should read the share offer prospectus carefully and are recommended to take independent financial advice.