The latest solar photovoltaic (PV) installation from the University of Brighton has been completed at its Eastbourne campus, at no cost to the university.
The project builds on the success of working with Brighton Energy Co-operative (BEC), a Brighton-based collective which builds community-funded solar systems across Sussex.
A total of 554 panels have now been installed across the two roofs of the Hillbrow Sports Centre and Robert Dodd Annexe buildings in Eastbourne, with a total capacity of just under 150kW. The panels will generate 150,000 kWh of electricity a year, enough to power 33 UK households, saving the university over £6,000 a year and cutting annual carbon emissions by 60 tonnes of CO2.
This installation has been made possible by a collaborate approach between the university and BEC, which has leased the airspace above the roofs for 20 years. BEC paid for the installation - its shareholders invest in renewable energy which finances the project. The university will pay BEC for the electricity generated by the panels, saving approximately one third of the price of grid electricity, providing security against fluctuating energy costs and reducing the university’s carbon footprint.
Abigail Dombey, the University’s Environmental Manager, said, “We’re delighted to be working again with BEC on another solar project to increase our onsite renewable energy generation, reducing our energy costs and showing the university’s commitment to sustainability.”
During the 20 years of the lease, the panels are expected to save the university over £185,000 and over 1,000 tonnes of carbon. After the lease expires, the university will take ownership of the panels at no cost and will benefit from the free electricity generated.
This project brings the university’s total onsite solar PV capacity to over 430kW - including the 210kW owned by BEC and over 1,600 panels. The total will provide three per cent of the university’s overall electricity demand and reduce its annual CO2 emissions by 178 tonnes, and should place the university in the top five higher education institutions for onsite solar PV.
BEC raises funds from the local community to install solar PV panels and have now amassed a portfolio of over 1.6 megawatt of installed capacity in the south east.