Energy bills can be a significant expense for our schools. In recent years a number of schools across the country have arranged for solar energy companies to install panels on their premises. Thus the schools have significantly reduced their electricity bills and significantly reduced their carbon footprint for zero capital outlay, a true win win.
Accordingly, would the Cabinet Member for Education and Health Reform advise how many KCC controlled schools have installed equipment for generating renewable energy, what the value of the savings has been and what encouragement and advice KCC is providing to those schools that haven't?
The Authority is aware of 29 Kent schools (both maintained and non-maintained) that have solar panels. This is not a definitive list, but is informed by Officer knowledge as well as data from LASER.
We are able to estimate the electricity savings for 16 of these 29 schools, and the collective figure is £13,436.70. We have no data on any schools receiving the government's feed in tariff payments.
KCC do not currently provide finance for, or actively promote the various finance offers from, the private sector to install solar panels in schools, due to a number of risks identified, but officers do provide information and advice to schools that request it. KCC does provide support to schools directed at energy efficiency projects, as these type of projects still provide more significant energy savings than solar panels. We also offer interest free invest-to-save financing and just recently we held a successful campaign to promote the benefits of this finance scheme and also LED lighting in partnership with the schools finance team. As a result we have 40 school enquiries, these schools will receive a free survey and quote for LED lighting or any other energy saving project they are keen to explore. Unfortunately, this finance is not available for solar panels, as to qualify projects must pay back within 7 years or less.