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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 February, 2004, 12:52 GMT
School cashes in on solar power
Solar power
The panels will cut seven tonnes of CO emissions a year
An Amman Valley primary school is turning the sun's rays into hard cash to help buy books and equipment.

Gwaun Cae Gurwen Primary School is the first in Wales to install photovoltaic solar panels.

Not only will the panels slash energy bills - the sale of surplus electricity during school holidays will provide an extra annual income.

The panels will also be used by pupils to learn about renewable energy.

This is a key event in demonstrating the tremendous potential that renewable energy
Helen Davies of AAT

The panels were officially switched on by Welsh assembly minister Edwina Hart on Wednesday.

They have been paid for with a 26,000 grant from the assembly and 36,666 from the Department of Trade and Industry.

"The renewable energy that these panels produce will help to reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions which contribute towards climate change," said Mrs Hart.

"Not only will the school be helping the environment but it will also raise about 1,500 a year partly from the sale of the electricity it doesn't use when the school is closed.

"The teachers and pupils should be proud of the achievements of their school as it is involving the whole community to become more sustainable."

The panels will generate about 8757 kWh of electricity per year, eliminating about seven tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Gwaun Cae Gurwen Primary School is part of the Awel Aman Tawe energy project which is trying to set up a community windfarm.

AAT's renewable energy manager Helen Davies said: 'This is a key event in demonstrating the tremendous potential that renewable energy has for everyone.

"It's exciting to be a part of helping a local school become more eco-friendly and bring the UK ever closer to reaching its target of generating 10% of its electricity through renewable energy by 2010."

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