Government cash delivers major green boost for schools as solar panel rollout set to slash energy bills

Planning and Environment
11:41, Thursday, 14th July 2022

A ground-breaking new scheme using Government cash to help schools go green and reduce their energy bills will be rolled out this summer.

Schools in Scunthorpe will be fitted with solar panels free of charge – reducing carbon emissions and dramatically slashing energy costs.

The initial pilot will be funded with £1.4m of Government cash alongside money from community investors before being rolled out to all of North Lincolnshire’s schools and other community buildings.

Cllr Rob Waltham, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “This is an incredible scheme that will enable schools to future-proof their energy needs – it will bring down bills at a critical time.

“We are working with a number of schools to pilot the project and we are in discussions with many other school leaders about a wider roll-out – the response has been massively enthusiastic across the area.

“The pilot has been made possible thanks to Government cash backing projects designed to help the local economy and reduce carbon emissions – it is another clear example of levelling-up here in North Lincolnshire.

Cllr David Rose, cabinet member for the environment, added: “This aligns with our ambitious Green Future plans which are designed to not only reduce our impact on the environment but also help other organisations too.

“It touches every single community, every single business and every single resident and recognises that we all play our part in making our area a cleaner, greener, healthier and more sustainable and attractive place to live, work and visit.”

As part of the project the council has set up a community benefit society called North Lincolnshire Community Energy. It will run the scheme which sees schools get the solar panels for free and pay the society for the energy they use at heavily reduced rates.

Any profits generated by the society are ploughed back into other green initiatives in North Lincolnshire.

Cllr Waltham added: “We are in partnership with Energy 4 All to deliver the community benefit society – that is being run for North Lincolnshire. It also gives people the chance to invest in the green economy and earn a good return.”

As well as the Government cash, investors, including local people, will be able to invest in the scheme, with investments starting at just £100.

Their capital is secured and they will receive interest well above current high street offers. For more details on the scheme and to register interest in the community share offer, go to the North Lincolnshire Community Energy website.

Frederick Gough School in Bottesford will be one of the first schools to benefit.

Headteacher Ben Lawrance said: “We are absolutely delighted to be part of the North Lincolnshire Community Energy project.

“Not only will it save us money on our energy bills which will mean we can spend our savings on resources for the children in our school, we will also be contributing clean energy to the community to help ensure the planet is habitable for future generations of Frederick Gough pupils to come.

“The visual of the panels on our roof will also serve as a good reminder for school and wider community members of the need of us all to do our bit to protect the planet.”

The Government funding is part of the cash given to the area as part of the Towns Fund programme.

Pictured above with staff and pupils at Holme Valley Primary School are (back row, left to right) Cllr David Rose, Cllr Margaret Armiger, Cllr Janet Longcake, Scunthorpe MP Holly Mumby-Croft, Cllr John Davison and Cllr Rob Waltham. Holme Valley has already signed up to the solar panel scheme.

A line of councillors, Holly Mumby Croft MP and two pupils outside Frederick Gough School

Pictured left with pupils at Frederick Gough School are Cllr Margaret Armiger, Cllr John Davison, Cllr Janet Longcake, Holly Mumby-Croft MP and Cllr David Rose.