After a 20 month campaign, pupils, parents and staff at Freshford Church School have held a ‘thank you’ event to celebrate the installation of their new solar panels.
The school community joined their sponsors to mark the successful installation of 22 solar panels at the school over the February school holiday.
Organisations and individuals who backed the community-led project, which included £10,000 worth of fundraising, enjoyed an enthusiastic reception from pupils, staff and members of Freshford PTA, and a slice of a celebration cake baked in honour of the occasion.
Sponsors of the project were chief among the guests of honour, including representatives for the developers behind local housing scheme Freshford Mill, and some of the other sponsors: Bath Stone, Wild Things Publishing, LUC, BEAM Projects, Walters Developments, The Galleries, Aspire Leadership Development, Click Strategy Ltd, FLISCA, Feilden Clegg Bradley, The Cobolt Trust and ID Consulting Services.
Nine local families also sponsored the project.
The sponsors became involved in response to letters of appeal from the children which said: “We try and save energy so that our world could be greener and that we can stop climate change.
“One of the ways we can do that is to get solar panels on our school roof.”
George Tomlinson, chair of Freshford PTA, said: “The panels will benefit the children of the school both now and for the next 25 years, as well as reducing energy costs for the school.
“It is clearly recognised by Government that it is the cumulative effect of small-scale installations like this, in conjunction with large-scale renewable developments, which collectively will help achieve a low-carbon future.”
Year 6 pupil, Alfie, said: “Our 22 solar panels will generate 6,600 kWh each year, which will really help reduce the school’s carbon footprint and contribute positively to helping the climate crisis.”
The new panels will save the school around £1,000 in fuel bills and cut 2,200kg of CO2 from its annual carbon footprint.
Simon Betty of the Wellesley Group which is responsible for Freshford Mill, said: “We are delighted to support Freshford Church School’s solar panel project as children should be encouraged to have active involvement in improving the environment.
“And since we are currently regenerating and cleaning up the old industrial site at Freshford Mill building much-needed new environmentally-friendly homes we wanted to demonstrate our support.”
The panels will also provide an educational resource for the existing 150 and future pupils of the school, which has already proved its green credentials by winning the Environmental category at last year’s Bath Life Awards, with praise from the judges for its “strong environmental ethos.”
Headteacher Andrew Wishart said: “We take very seriously the need to play our part in achieving 100% clean energy across all sectors in Bath & North East Somerset by 2030, and we really appreciate the support from the sponsors of our solar panels, and congratulate all the campaigners – young and old alike – on what they have achieved here.”
The next energy-reduction project being considered by the school is the installation of some electric vehicle charging points in the car park which, outside school hours, would be available to local residents and visitors.