A number of schools in the Northumberland area have already benefitted from a solar panel installation project, first started two years ago.

As reported by the Northumberland Journal, up to £7 million has been allocated for solar photovoltaic and other energy efficient developments across the local area in recent times.

It has been discovered that a saving of £66,000 a year has been achieved in total per year for the 89 schools as part of the scheme.

There are further plans to install solar panels on different schools throughout the region, based on feasibility studies.

Other installations in order to help cut the running costs and energy bills of schools across the region, include micro wind turbines and biomass boilers.

It is hoped that more and more schools in the area will benefit from future improvements.

The installation of the wind turbines are being brought about by County Hall officials. While providing schools with sustainable cheap energy, the local government will also benefit from funds generated by the feed in tariff (FiT). Furthermore, FiT can be accessed by energy generated which can then be fed back into the National Grid.

Solar panels were installed via the local government scheme almost two years ago and added to 500 council-owned houses and 130 schools. Other public buildings also benefitted from the technology.

The local Liberal Democrat run council has created an ambitious target to reduce the area's carbon footprint by 50 per cent in the coming five years.

Seven schools are also set to be involved in a pilot scheme which will bring biomass boilers to the educational establishments.

Speaking to the Northumberland Journal, property services business and change manager said:

“Across the entire portfolio of school installations, we estimate annual generation of about 550,000 kwh, with potential savings based on previous assumptions in the region of £66,000 per annum.”