Bilborough College sets a shining example

EvoEnergy’s latest commercial project saw us install 400 panels on the roof of the sports hall at Bilborough College, Nottingham. And the installation caused such a stir the local BBC news team came along too.

Nottingham residents who tuned into BBC East Midlands Today on Thursday 5 January might have noticed a cameo appearance from our very own Gary Sucharewycz, commercial sales manager. The BBC crew turned up to film Gary and his project team beginning work on a 100kWp solar PV system at Bilborough College, and took time to chat to students and staff about their reasons for backing solar power.

We’ve got a great deal of experience in the education sector and solar PV is often a great fit with schools and colleges. Not only do they have high energy needs during the daytime, but having the technology on site is also an effective way to teach future generations about energy consumption and the environment.

Gary says: ‘The college have been very forward thinking, looking at the other drivers besides the government subsidy. For example, the system offers live monitoring, which is a great tool for interacting with students.’ The system at Bilborough College should generate around 10% of the energy used by the sports hall, making considerable bill savings as well as reducing carbon emissions.

Forward planning

As the news report shows, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the college. Months of planning meant that by the time the board were ready to give the green light, the feed-in tariff had been cut. But having spent a considerable amount of time looking at the long-term benefits of solar energy, the college were in no doubt as to whether to go ahead.

Principal Chris Bradford says: ‘When the management team and governors first looked at this we were looking at the original feed-in tariff. But having done a lot of work on the long-term benefits we still feel it’s very clearly worth doing.’

It’s always exciting to see members of the EvoEnergy team popping up in the news. But we’re especially happy the BBC decided to cover a positive solar story now, at a time when there’s so much negative media coverage over the handling of the feed-in tariff review. The report reinforces the message that, reduced tariff or no reduced tariff, solar is still a smart investment. And that’s something for the whole industry to be glad about.