Article 6 July 2021

We’re helping Essex schools cut carbon

Our team in Communities has helped Essex County Council install solar panels on the rooves of 15 of their schools. The new panels will help to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs for the Council by producing around 700,000 kWh of renewable energy every year. This is equivalent to the energy needed to power 185 homes1, saving 180 tonnes of CO2 and around £115,000.

We did a full review of the Council’s estate of more than 250 locations to identify the priority sites, creating business cases and feasibility studies, and securing government funding, as well as overseeing the selection of specialist suppliers and installation. We also installed remote monitoring equipment in the panels to track their performance, carbon savings and any maintenance needed.

Schools were the priority for the first phase of solar panel installation because the project is focused on helping to tackle the climate crisis and reduce emissions for generations to come. Phase two will see us installing roof-mounted panels at another 12 schools and 16 core council buildings, like libraries and children centres. This phase will cut the Council’s carbon emissions by an extra 220 tonnes a year.

This project builds on our partnership with Essex County Council to fight climate change by reducing energy use and helping the county reach net zero carbon emissions target by 2050. Some of the installations were delivered as part of a project called Empower 2.0, which aims to empower citizens in Essex to take an active role in the energy market as the UK moves to a low carbon society.​​​​​​​

Pradyumna Pandit, Managing Director, Sustainability and Energy Services, Mitie, said:

“Decarbonising the UK’s buildings is key to securing a net zero future for the next generation, so it’s very fitting that we’re helping Essex County Council cut its emissions by rolling out solar panels across the region’s schools. With this project, we’re demonstrating that doing the right thing by our planet doesn’t need to cost the earth, by helping the Council lower its energy bills along with its carbon emissions.”

Councillor Schwier, Lead Member on Climate Action, Essex County Council said:

“I am delighted that the first phase of this project has now been successfully completed. We are committed to tackling climate change in Essex and this is a fantastic step in the right direction. With the Essex Climate Action Commission about to launch its recommendations for a net zero Essex later in the summer, we expect many similar initiatives will be proposed. These solar systems will showcase the reality of net-zero electricity to thousands of pupils and staff, so they can experience renewable energy first-hand.”

1.Based on average annual domestic electricity consumption of 3,772 kWh. Source: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategies.