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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 December 2006, 13:45 GMT
Funding help for greener schools
Bai and Stuart, 10, with the solar panels
Burdett-Coutts' panels light eight classrooms all year round
More than 100 schools keen to develop their own energy sources are set to benefit from a cash boost of 1.5m.

The Co-operative Group is to match the government's funding of up to a half of the costs of installing solar panels or small wind turbines in some schools.

Applicants will be dealt with on a first-come, first-served basis.

A 4kWp photovoltaic system is said to generate about 3,240 kWh of electricity a year - reducing carbon dioxide production by about two tonnes.

'Useful tool'

The Department of Trade and Industry's Low Carbon Buildings Programme currently entitles schools to apply for a grant to install renewable energy technologies from a 50m pot of government money.

As part of this latest scheme, schools can apply directly to the Co-operative Group.

They will then be surveyed by the group's partner, energy company Solar Century.

This will decide if their grounds are suitable for panels or a turbine and they will then receive help with their government funding application, and ultimately match funding.

It's become part of the school and they take it for granted
John Hicks, head teacher

The Co-operative Group's Simon Williams said: "By installing a solar panel or micro wind turbine on the roof of a school, pupils and their parents will increasingly tune in to the subject of carbon reductions."

As part of a separate initiative, solar panels were installed at Burdett-Coutts Primary, in Pimlico, London, last year and have helped to cut bills, emissions and teach pupils about sustainability.

The energy generated has been able to light eight classrooms throughout the year, and head teacher John Hicks is now considering fixing a wind turbine to the side of the school.

He said: "For the children it is a useful tool to know what we are trying to do," he said.

"With the older children there was a fascination when they were first installed, but now it's become part of the school and they take it for granted."

EDF Energy helped to pay for the panels while the school contributed 1,500.

But Mr Hicks said this would pay for itself in reduced electricity bills.

University turns to solar power
25 May 06 |  Manchester

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