School takes the green lead with its new solar panels

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A BURY St Edmunds school is among the growing number across Suffolk leading a green revolution after installing solar panels.

Priory School, in Mount Road, has set up 16 photovoltaic cells on the roof of its eco-friendly built Skills Centre, which will generate 4,000 kilo watt hours of energy a year.

The £11,990 array is expected to supply the building with half of its energy need and generate power for the nearby base of West Suffolk Wheelers.

About 30 schools in Suffolk have installed solar panels over the last year with another 10 to 20 due in the next few months.

Roger Mackenzie, headteacher at Priory School, said: “It’s the obvious thing to do for the future. We’ve got a massive flat roof on the school which we could use to generate a next generation of heating for the school. I wouldn’t be surprised if it pays itself back in seven years.”

As part of the Government’s Feed-In Tariffs, people receive money for the amount of electricity they generate.

The move adds to the green credentials of the the centre, which is used by the community and other schools for meetings as well as food technology and painting and decorating activities. The building was constructed using sustainable materials which lock in carbon. Mr Mackenzie noted that the building could be used as an example for other schools, which could expand as part of a move to two tier education. He said: “There’s no way we’re going to be able to very easily fund the modernisations and extensions to our primary schools using conventional methods. They can do it using the kind of methods we’ve used here.”