Currie High School pupils helped celebrate the completion of a project to install energy-saving solar panels across a range of Council-owned buildings today (Friday, 7 October).
Panels have been installed on 24 buildings, including schools, community and leisure centres, in partnership with the Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative (ECSC), supported by Energy4All.
The initiative, which is believed to be the largest community-owned urban renewable energy project in the UK, will benefit participating buildings with cheaper electricity, generating savings.
On Friday, members of the solar co-op were joined by councillors, pupils and community representatives to toast the occasion over a solar panel-themed cake at Currie High School – the last building to be energised.
Vice Convener of Transport and Environment, Councillor Adam McVey, said: “I am delighted to see this project come into action, providing a wealth of environmental and economic benefits in the long term.
“As a Council we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and it is through developments such as this we are able to make a real change. Co-operatives are also a great way to involve the community, in this instance to increase the city’s renewable energy together.”
Dr Richard Dixon, Chair of the ECSC, said: “Schools, community centres and sports halls are now creating clean, green electricity for themselves and for the wider community, in a project funded by local investors. This is the biggest scheme of its type in the UK and we would be delighted to see this kind of project spreading to other Scottish cities. Many congratulations to the team, who have worked really hard over the summer to meet the deadlines to get all 24 solar installation installed and generating electricity.”
It is estimated that the newly-installed solar panels will supply a million units of zero-carbon energy a year, contributing to the Council’s target to reduce emissions by 42% by 2020. Any surplus energy will be sold to the National Grid and profits made by the project will be reinvested locally through a newly-created Community Benefit Fund.
Stephanie Clark, Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “What’s been achieved in Edinburgh is remarkable.
“It’s great to see a large community project like this succeed and make the benefits of renewable energy, in terms of reduced carbon emissions and cost savings, a reality.
“The communities involved should be rightly proud of their new solar PV panels, and other local authorities can now look to Edinburgh as a good example to follow.”
Members of the Co-op will receive annual interest on their investment (capped at five percent increasing with RPI), with any surplus profit invested in the Community Benefit fund.
The panels will also help educate school pupils on environmental themes such as renewable energy, with each equipped with a real-time display of electricity generation, accessible online or on the building.
Also, Edinburgh Solar are delighted to announce that they have been shortlisted as a finalist for the Scottish Green Energy Awards 2016. Having received over 130 nominations, it is a huge achievement to have been shortlisted and they would like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate.