Solar panels turn school into a shining example

Corby, Oakley Vale Primary School, Head Teacher Michael Deane-Hall with the �60,000 solar panels installed on roof.'Wednesday, 04 January 2012
Corby, Oakley Vale Primary School, Head Teacher Michael Deane-Hall with the �60,000 solar panels installed on roof.'Wednesday, 04 January 2012
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Pupils are set to reap the benefits at a primary school which has taken a further step to being eco-friendly.

Oakley Vale Primary School, Corby, had £60,000 worth of solar panels installed on its roof to reduce the school’s carbon footprint and energy bills.

Headteacher Michael Deane-Hall said: “We are a new school which opened in 2008 – there are various sustainable systems in the school, we have a biomass heating system which doesn’t run off gas or oil but wood chips from the Boughton estates.

“We also do rain water harvesting at school as well for water for toilet flushing. And we have a computer controlled natural ventilation system which manages the temperature.

“From our point of view it is fantastic to add to the sustainable systems we have here.

“We are probably one of the most eco-friendly schools there is.”

The equipment was provided by Northamptonshire County Council’s Energy and Carbon Management Team.

Mr Deane-Hall said the team applied for funding on the school’s behalf and the extra energy produced through the solar panels goes back to the team for the next 25 years to reinvest the funds generated in similar projects.

He said: “It’s a win-win situation. It didn’t cost the school anything and we look forward to seeing a reduction in our energy costs and using the money we save to create better outcomes for the children.”

Mr Deane-Hall said: “It was put in jeopardy by the Government’s feed-in tariff policy – it was six months in the planning and then it happened very quickly to get it approved by December 12.”

It follows the move by the Government to bring forward the halving of the feed-in tariff rate – the amount paid for electricity generated, which was expected to be introduced in April.

He added: “One of the children said ‘it’s not just Oakley Vale Primary now, it’s Oakley Vale power station’.”