The Future’s bright in Newport

The Newport Council/Egni Coop solar rooftop programme is raising the bar in Wales for renewable energy. Installs have just been completed at 6 schools – some of these are amongst the largest anywhere in Wales.

John Frost High

The new solar installations include 225kW at John Frost High, 200kW systems at both Llanwern and Newport High Schools, 99kW at Lliswerry and 30kW at Ysgol Gymraeg Casnewydd. This is in addition to two installs on Blaen y Pant and Parklands Care Homes which are 8kW and 25kW respectively.

Ysgol Gynradd Casnewydd

Newport City Council is working in collaboration with Egni Co-op to help the authority in its aims to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.

Egni Director, Rosie Gillam said “We are making fantastic progress in Newport we soon expect to be at 1MW of capacity already installed. We would like to thank the schools for their enthusiasm – school staff and council officers have pulled together to help make the installs go ahead smoothly. Our installers Joju Solar have worked really hard as well, often in very wet conditions over the past month. Most importantly, the pupils at the schools have been very interested too, have watched the installs, and have been asking lots of good questions – so hopefully, some of them will go to be renewable energy engineers in the future!”

Lliswerry High School

Dr Chris Jardine, Joju Solar’s Technical Director explains “Community energy is a way of delivering carbon reductions at serious scale, whilst simultaneously engaging with the local community.  A sustainable energy transition needs to built from the bottom-up in this way, if it is to be successful.  Egni’s work with Newport is a perfect example of what can be achieved.”

Overall 6,000 solar panels across 21 sites at zero cost to the council will be installed by Egni with the total installed capacity close to 2MW.

Most of the electricity generated will be used on site reducing the council’s carbon emissions by 348 tonnes per year. Some electricity will also be exported onto the grid for use in the city.

Councillor Deb Davies, the council’s cabinet member for sustainable development said: “The council is determined to take a lead on tackling the climate crisis and by working with Egni Co-op in the coming months we will achieve a 20 fold increase in the amount of renewable energy installed on our buildings.

Rosie Gillam and Eric Couling, Joju Health and Safety Manager, in Newport at Lliswerry High

“This is a big step towards our ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”

Egni Co-op is a community organisation which funds and manages PV installations in Wales. It was set up by Awel Aman Tawe  (AAT), a community energy charity which has been operating for 20 years.

Ben Whittle, Welsh Government Energy Service, inspecting works at Newport High

Councillor Gail Giles, the council’s cabinet member for education and skills said: “We are delighted by the positive way our school pupils and staff are engaging with this ambitious project.

“A number of our schools are already members of Egni’s sister project Awel Co-op wind farm and have visited wind turbines. As part of Egni’s work an online educational portal will be developed so students can learn more about renewable energy generated on the roofs of their schools.”

Egni Co-op will also be providing specific teaching/lesson support which ties in with the new Welsh curriculum via a dedicated energy officer who will be visiting schools.

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