The panels on St Patrick’s High School in Dungiven were funded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and are hoped to produce around 4,000 units of electricity each year, saving up to £400 (Euro 497) on the school’s energy bills.

Vince McKevitt, head of DARD’s building sustainable prosperity programme, told the Derry Journal: “School children will see the actual workings of renewable energy whilst learning about the bigger issues such as climate change.

“Educating children to be aware of environmental issues will not only benefit the rural community, but also the world around them.”

Claire Carson from Northern Ireland Energy visited the school to see the new solar panels and said that renewable energy technologies can substantially reduce the amounts of CO2 emitted and help prevent climate change.

Sustainable Energy Ireland estimates that a properly designed solar thermal system can reduce heating bills by up to 30% on a total bill of Euro 40,000 over the next 30 years.

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