Whitchurch Primary School in Cardiff is one of the largest primary schools in Wales, accommodating 710 pupils aged 3-11. The school buildings are a mix of old and new, with the original buildings having been built in the aftermath of the second world war, but later joined by a large modern building. It has been categorised as a ‘green’ school by the Welsh government since 2015 when categorisation began, indicating a top-performing school.
Environmental responsibility is high on the agenda at Whitchurch Primary School, with an active Eco committee and a commitment to transparency of their energy usage via their website. Reducing the annual burden of a significant electricity bill benefitted the school financially as well as ecologically.
A larger system for a bigger school
Given the sizeable buildings housing Whitchurch Primary School, and the associated energy bills, Ineco Energy proposed a reasonably large solar installation of 177 photovoltaic (pv) panels to take advantage of the expansive roof available to them on the most modern of Whitchurch’s buildings. This would be a zero-cost investment for the school thanks to available funding.
We designed a frame to elevate the panels on their shallow roof to point due south for maximum efficiency. This also enabled us to make good use of a north-facing roof for even greater returns.
Enhancing existing efficiency
Given the newest part of the school was constructed as recently as 2010, it was reasonably efficient. It had an existing solar array of just 5 panels, producing a small amount of electricity, but barely making a dent in the school’s significant bills. The existence of a feed-in tariff arrangement from those original solar panels assisted with the ongoing financial gains though, as the increased generation of energy from the replacement Ineco Energy system meant the school stood to enjoy even greater returns.
A zero-cost investment for long term gains
The new system can produce in the region of 47,704 kWh of energy annually, the equivalent of powering 12 homes for a year. This delivers the school savings of approximately £4,500 per annum on their electricity bill, representing 28% of their usual charges. This saving was enabled thanks to government-backed funding, via the Salix Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme. Delivering finance for investment in around 150 different energy efficiency technologies, the Salix Finance arrangement enables schools to save on their energy bills and access cleaner, greener energy at no upfront or ongoing cost to them.