Brighton University installs rooftop solar array in ‘record time’ to beat subsidy deadline

The University of Brighton has unveiled a new solar panel array that will reduce carbon emissions at its Falmer campus by 82 tonnes annually, placing Brighton as one of the top universities in the UK for on-site renewable energy production.

The 663-panel solar photovoltaic array has been installed on the roofs of Westlain House, Mayfield House and the campus library and will generate more than 173,000 kWh of renewable electricity annually – enough to meet 7.5% of the campus’ energy demands.

Abigail Dombey, the university’s environmental manager, said: “The installation is a clear demonstration of the university’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions, ensure energy security and to promote sustainability.”

The £200,000 installation was completed in ‘record time’ to be finalised before the lower feed in tariff subsidy came into effect on 15 January. The university stated that an additional £200,000 of income will be generated over the next 20 years through the higher subsidy rates.

The installation was completed just three weeks after the contract was awarded due to work over the Christmas break from the university’s environment team and local company Ecosphere Renewables.

The installation comes just days after UK researchers said that solar installation and running costs are shrinking at a rate exceeding mainstream energy forecasts.

Researchers from Oxford University found that since the 1980s solar costs have fallen by an average of 10% year-on-year. The researcher claim that this will lead to solar energy supplying 20% of the global energy need by 2027.

2 degrees degree

A survey from the Environmental Association for Universities & Colleges (EAUC) revealed that sustainability is a strategic priority at just one quarter of UK further education institutions.

The National Union of Students (NUS) has called on all UK higher education facilities to play their part in removing a £100m ‘tip of the iceberg’ fossil fuel fund and divest assets into renewable technology.

Brighton is also home to an entirely self-sufficient, off-the-grid building designed to educate students and the public about low-carbon issues. Earthship Brighton is a building with no links to mains, and made using recycled materials such as used car tyres and glass bottles, and uses the sun and rain to provide all their energy needs.

Onsite solutions at edie 2016

Onsite solutions will be a key theme at edie live 2016. Taking place in May at the NEC in Birmingham, the show aims to provide a holistic view of the sustainability industry all in one place, whether you’re focusing on the strategy, operations or specifications for your organisation.  It’s the live version of! To find out more, click here.

Matt Mace

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