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Install a renewable energy source at your school

Renewable energy can be a cost effective and environmentally friendly way to generate energy. Increasingly, individual buildings are looking at ways to generate their own power.

Installing a renewable energy source is a large-scale project. It should be carried out in conjunction with energy saving and efficiency measures around your school.

Supplier lists and funding information are at the bottom of this page.

Solar - Photovoltaic

  • Converts energy from daylight into electricity. Available to fit on to roofs (as panels or tiles) and walls
  • Typical 5kwp system will produce 5000 kWh /year (up to 30 percent CO2 emissions)

View arrays which have already been installed in these Southwark Schools:

  • Borough and Bankside - Charles Dickens, Notre Dame, Charlotte Sharman
  • Dulwich - Herne Hill School, Goodrich Primary, The Charter.
  • Walworth - First Place Nursery, St Peter's, Crampton, St John's

Solar - Thermal heaters

  • Solar Power is used to heat water for showers, warm up tap water, etc
  • CO2 savings are limited by demand for hot water

Wind turbine

  • Free standing (6-20 kW - saving up to 30 percent CO2 emissions) and building mounted (1-2.5 kW - saving up to 20 percent CO2 emissions) turbines are the most appropriate for generating electricity for schools
  • Average wind speed of 4.5 m/s is required. Planning permission is often needed

Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP)

  • Sources heat from the ground using either a shallow laid coil or a deep bore
  • Need to have space to lay coil. A GSHP is most cost effective if built as part of a new building when integrated into pillared foundations
  • Can replace fossil fuel as energy to heat building (saving up to 20 percent CO2 emissions). Electricity is required to power pump - system is truly renewable if this is generated renewably


  • Boiler that generates heat from organic matter. This is carbon neutral because emissions are offset by continually growing fuel. Replaces fossil fuel boiler - saving up to 50 percent CO2 emissions
  • Need storage space for fuel (pellets or wood chips) and access for vehicles to deliver fuel (preferably from a local source)

Combined Heat and Power (CHP)

  • Using Natural Gas or bio-diesel to generate electricity. Heat produced is then used for central heating or hot water. 1kW of power creates 2kW usable heat

Integration into teaching

Energy efficiency case study

Notre Dame secondary school (Borough and Bankside) have lighting sensors, an external lighting solar dial timer, heating pipe insulation and improved heating controls. These are all supplied through a corporate carbon offsetting partnership.

Funding information

The low carbon building programme (Phase 2) may pay for 50 percent of a renewable (not CHP) project (Photovoltaic and Wind turbine projects must have capacity of more than 0.5kw). Ask your renewable supplier to assist with this. 

A number of other sources of funding are available, for example:

Funding through Feed in Tariffs

Under the Feed-in-Tariff (FITs) scheme, energy suppliers make regular payments to those who generate their own electricity from renewable sources such as solar electricity (PV) panels. The scheme guarantees a minimum payment for all electricity generated by the system, as well as a separate payment for the electricity exported to grid. These payments are in addition to the fuel bill savings made by using the electricity generated on-site.

There are currently many companies who are offering to install solar panels on schools for free or with minimal funding with the condition that the company installing the panels will receive all or a proportion of the Feed in Tariff, while the host building would receive free or reduced cost energy generated from the panels.

Schools should proceed carefully when considering offers that involve long term contracts. The principles of ensuring that your school is getting 'best value' for any deal applies and an assessment of the range of deals on offer should be completed. 

Schools may also consider financing panels themselves if they can, and so becoming the sole beneficiary of Feed In Tariffs. 

Schools may need approval from the land/building owner to install the panels (usually Southwark Council), and planning permission may be necessary.

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Climate change and sustainability team

Tel: 020 7525 2000



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Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

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