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Cornwall College Reaps Solar Rewards

Cornwall College is seeing the benefits of solar power after saving £37,000 in six months. The further and higher education provider enlisted Truro-based R-ECO – the Renewable Energy Co-operative – to install three photovoltaic panel systems in March this year at its campuses in Camborne, St Austell and Saltash, prior to the reduction of the Feed in Tariff.

The 150 kilowatts of solar panels have proved to be valuable in reducing the College’s overall carbon dioxide output and generating thousands in savings.

Dave Linnell, Principal of Cornwall College, said: “Sustainability is a key factor in the way we operate. The solar panel installations followed a successful initial trial at our Newquay campus which has been running since early 2011; it was only natural to roll this out to our other sites to increase the benefits and reduce our carbon footprint further.”

At St Austell, over 39,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity has been produced, reducing carbon dioxide production by 21,000kg and earning £13,600 in savings.

Camborne has seen a £12,000 saving after panels produced almost 35,000kWh of electricity and reduced carbon dioxide by 19,000kg.

A saving of £11,500 has been made at Saltash as a result of 33,000kWh of electricity reducing carbon dioxide by 18,000kg.

As well as installing the systems, R-ECO also supplied the College with three smaller systems for students to use in training as part of courses including the Installation of Solar Photovoltaic Panels short course and the Renewable Energy Technologies foundation degree. Representatives from the company returned to the Cornwall College Camborne last week to chat to degree students about the installation.

Pat Hammond (electrician) and Andy Tellam (system designer) met students to illustrate workings of the photovoltaic system on their college’s roof, virtually linking to the panels via the internet to highlight their efficiency and production.

Electrician Pat Hammond said: "Creating links with the community is an important role of our function as a local co-op. Part of my training as an electrician happened here at the College so to have worked on the project and then come here and discuss it with the students, the installers of the future, was brilliant. Meeting the students was both interesting and challenging for us as designers and installers; they were a well-informed bunch who didn't hesitate to test our knowledge and understanding with their intelligent and well-informed questions."     

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