Green energy programme expands to 165 city schools

By on 19/09/2011 in News

A programme to generate renewable energy is set to see 165 Birmingham schools fitted with solar panels through £23.6million self-financing package.

The Birmingham Energy Savers (BES) scheme already is on course to deliver photovoltaic “solar” panels for more than 1,200 council-owned homes by March 2012 and the proposals for a new phase involving schools are due to be considered at a next City Council Cabinet meeting on September 26.

Through BES, homes are being fitted with the panels, in effect becoming micro-generators of electricity - helping reduce fuel poverty, with any excess supplies sold back to the power grid.

The early phases of BES, developed at a cost of almost £7million, have proven this can be delivered at nil net cost, meaning council office buildings, homes of vulnerable owner-occupiers and properties owned by registered social landlords also in the frame for inclusion within the scheme.

A report to Cabinet outlines that funding mechanisms established by central Government within the Climate Change Act, mean that revenue of up to £48.6million will be generated over 25 years by the schools phase of the programme, covering the upfront investment, maintenance and replacement costs.

The report also reveals it will play a part in Birmingham's effort to reduce carbon emissions, contributing a cut of 51,000 tonnes in a quarter of century.

Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Given that the council owns such a vast range of properties within its portfolio, it makes sense to see how we can maximise their potential use.

“Our schools can play a key role in the Birmingham Energy Savers scheme, making a positive social, economic and environmental contribution to the city's future.

The latest phase of the scheme will reduce energy bills, cut carbon emissions, enhance energy security and improve the prospects of businesses and employees by creating work for the people of Birmingham.”

The upcoming Cabinet report is also due to be discussed during a fringe event at the Liberal Democrat Conference in Birmingham on September 19:

Growing the Green Economy

Monday 19 September, 13.00-14.00, Baskerville House, Victoria Room

Light buffet lunch available

Birmingham is becoming a real hot spot for the development of low carbon initiatives and the green economy and is playing a leading role in the implementation of the Green Investment Bank.  This meeting will hear about some of the exciting initiatives in the city and consider how national policy can provide even greater support for the green economy.  The panel will include:

Cllr Paul Tilsley (Deputy Leader, Birmingham City Council)

David Adams (Willmott Dixon) – Green Deal & Zero Carbon Hub

Dave Allport (Birmingham City Council) – Birmingham Energy Savers

Lubo Jankovic (Birmingham City University) – zero carbon building next steps

Andreas Hornung (Aston University) - “EBRI and BioEnergy planning”

Lynsey Melville (Birmingham City University) - “Sustainable BioEnergy”

Peter Rayson (Birmingham City University) - “Urban Farms”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Birmingham Energy Savers: Phase 2B at-a-glance:

Cost - £23.6million (+ £6.8 million for further installations on council-owned housing stock = £30.4 million for the whole package)

Jobs created and safeguarded - 883

People trained - 290 to NVQ level 3

Annual fuel bill savings - £515k per year (£12.8million over 25 years)

Feed in Tariff earned by council - £1.9million per year (£48.6million over 25 years)

Renewable energy created - 3.7 GWh per year

Carbon dioxide reduction - 2,000 tonnes per year (51,000 tonnes over 25 years)

The administrative buildings being considered for inclusion in the project are

Lifford House (Stirchley), Tamebridge House (Perry Barr), Sutton New Road (Erdington) and Northfield Neighbourhood Office.

Schools will be asked to apply individually for photovoltaic installations and the council will then visually and structurally survey them for suitability, before proceeding to the actual fitting.

For more information contact Kris Kowalewski or Simon Houltby at Birmingham City Council on 0121 303 3621

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