Sunshine on a rainy day as Irlam solar panels scheme launched

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The dark winter nights may be drawing in, but there was a slice of sunshine at the official launch of a community solar scheme for two Salford schools.

At Hamilton Davies House on Monday 21st November the Mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett, launched the scheme which has seen almost 60kW of solar panels installed on Irlam and Fiddlers Lane Primary Schools by a local renewable energy society, Greater Manchester Community Renewables (GMCR). The funding for the scheme was raised from local people who bought shares in GMCR, and will help the two schools save money on their electricity bills.

Elaine Darwin, Head Teacher at Irlam Primary School, said, “We are absolutely delighted with the solar panels, which were installed free of charge by GMCR. Renewable energy spans many aspects of the school curriculum and the solar installation helps to bring this to life – the pupils loved the assembly a couple of weeks ago when the installer explained how the panels were installed.”

Ann McQuirk, Business Manager at Fiddlers Lane Primary School, said, “We were pleased to be able to use our roof to support this project. Not only will it save us a few pounds on our electricity bills which we can spend on education instead, it will also support the wider community through the profits it generates. ”

The launch of the scheme was celebrated with a large cake in the shape of the sun (photos attached). Supported by Salford City Council, it is hoped that there will be future phases of the scheme despite cuts to Government support for solar power.

The Mayor Paul Dennett said, “I am delighted to be able to launch this scheme, which I hope will be the first of many similar schemes here in Salford. Putting the community at the heart of our future energy supply will be absolutely essential in ensuring a quality environment for our children’s future.”

The solar installations were completed over the summer holidays by Oldham based electrical firm, NPS Solar. Ben Nuttall, Director, said “NPS Solar is proud to have won the contract to work on this community energy project. Not only will installing solar panels generate more green electricity, it will also generate awareness of the benefits of renewable energy within the local community.”

“We are so grateful for the support of the schools, the Council and, of course, our members who invested.” said Kate Eldridge, a Director of GMCR. “Together we have delivered a project which will not only help to tackle climate change but will also benefit the community and help the next generation learn about solar power