Hub support for solar-powered school in South Tyneside

232 solar panels installed on the roof of a South Tyneside school are set to generate over 90kWh of electricity a year, save almost 19,000kg of carbon and cut the school’s energy costs.

The panels, installed and operational at Keelman’s Way School in Hebburn, were funded with £44,000 from the North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub’s Energy Project Enabling Fund.

The money the school stands to save from energy bills through the project means that the project will pay for itself within 3 years – with the panels also reducing demand on the local electricity grid.

Facilities like the swimming pool, sensory room and cookery room that the school offers to support the personal development and education of its pupils – many of whom have severe learning difficulties – are energy intensive, and the school was keen to see how it could save on costly energy bills and cut carbon emissions.

An independent energy audit recommended the installation of solar panels – and the school secured funding from the North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub to make their installation financially viable.

The panels also provide students with valuable learning opportunities and position the school as a community leader in sustainable practices – with a display at the school entrance displaying how much energy the panels are producing and how much carbon they have saved.

Laura McGregor, Assistant Headteacher at Keelman’s Way School said “The pupils and staff are really excited to see the difference the solar panels will make.”

The Energy Project Enabling Fund provides grants of up to £50,000 to eligible public sector organisations, community groups, charities and businesses, looking to deliver local energy projects for communal or public benefit. The Fund built on learning from the national Rural Community Energy Fund, which was managed locally by the Net Zero Hub, and informed the development of the current Community Energy Fund.

The North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub has opened the second round of the Community Energy Fund, a national programme designed to help communities develop energy services which benefit their local area – with applications being accepted until Midnight on May 5th 2024. Community organisations – including sports clubs, faith groups, charities, community interest companies and town or parish councils – have just under a month to apply for up to £140,000 of funding to get their local clean energy and heat projects off the ground.