How can Educational Buildings Lead the way to Net-zero Carbon Emissions?

Renewable energy funding schemes are providing the financial support schools need to introduce sustainable energy sources to their buildings.

The importance of reducing our carbon footprint is becoming increasingly apparent, with the government recently introducing a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. It is likely that future generations will remember 2019 as the year where site sourced renewables such as solar photovoltaic (PV) became the most competitive form of energy generation for public buildings and education facilities. Photovoltaic panels provide educational buildings with clean, renewable energy and practical learning opportunities to support the curriculum but more importantly, will generate significant financial savings and provide energy security.

A school’s flat roof offers the ideal space for a solar PV array as the unobstructed area enables maximum exposure to sunlight, optimising energy generation. Solar panels on a flat roof are out of sight, simple to install and maintain, and thoroughly cost effective; particularly as there are various funding and investment streams available for solar PV projects meaning your school can benefit from the advantages of a PV array with no capital outlay. There are three main mechanisms that can be used to fund solar projects.

Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s)

Private funders offering a PPA solution enable property owners to take advantage of a fully installed PV system for zero capital outlay. The school enters into a long-term contract to purchase the electricity generated by the solar array from the private funder at a rate that is lower than their current purchase price and guaranteed for a fixed time period. PPA’s are attractive to education facilities as the array is owned and maintained by the funder meaning there is no maintenance requirement for the building owner and the school only pays for what they use ensuring they can never be out of pocket.

Community funded PPA’s

Similar to a commercial PPA, but capital is raised to provide funds for the installation of the solar array through a community share offer. The school benefits from reduced energy costs, but the PV array is owned by the cooperative or community benefit society from whom the building owner purchases the electricity. Community PPA’s have the added benefit that all profits go back to the schools and the local community can invest in the system if they wish to.

Salix finance

Salix enables public sector organisations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to take a lead in tackling climate change by increasing their energy efficiency. Salix provides 100% interest-free capital for the public sector to reduce their energy costs by enabling the installation of modern, energy efficient technologies and replacing dated, inefficient technologies. Repayment can be made over a four to eight-year period.

Read about Sheringham High School's experience of using a funding stream for PV panels.

Bauder provides a full service from funding application support through to system installation, whether you are looking to retrofit solar PV panels or incorporate renewable energy into your flat roof refurbishment project.