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More solar panels will cut energy bills

Up to 600 solar photovoltaic panels are being installed on the roof of Nottingham Tennis Centre and around 200 on Ambleside Primary School in Aspley.

Up to 600 solar photovoltaic panels are being installed on the roof of Nottingham Tennis Centre and around 200 on Ambleside Primary School in Aspley

It is estimated that the panels on Nottingham Tennis Centre will generate around 115,000kWh of electricity and save 62 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

This electricity is set to cut the centre's energy bill by up to £11,000 a year at a time when energy prices are soaring. This will be the largest publicly owned solar photovoltaic (PV) array in Nottingham and will make this summer's Aegon Trophy and Aegon Challenger, and the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships, greener events.

It is estimated that the panels on Ambleside Primary will generate around 36,000kWh of electricity. That will save 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year and cut the school's energy bill by up to £3,000. A monitor is being fitted in the school's reception area, which shows how much energy has been generated and how much carbon has been saved. Teachers can access this data from every classroom that has a whiteboard, which means that the school's new green feature can be incorporated into the curriculum to help educate pupils about energy.

By linking energy-related issues into the school's daily life, Ambleside is ensuring future generations are informed about the direct consequences their actions can have on the environment. This school is located in the middle of an area in which around 600 homes have had solar panels installed, thanks to a project between the Council and E.ON, which means that many pupils will now benefit from solar panels at home and school.

A local company is benefiting directly from these two schemes through the Council's Commercial PV Framework, which includes five contractors that specialise in the installation of solar panels. The solar panels at the Tennis Centre and Ambleside are being installed by EvoEnergy who are a Nottingham-based company, employing more than 200 people. This will ensure that a significant proportion of spend will benefit local businesses and boost the city's economy. Bilborough College has also recently benefited from the framework and contracted with EvoEnergy to fit a 100kWp system to their sports hall.

Dr. Kevin Hard, Chief Executive Officer of EvoEnergy, said: "It's fantastic to work with the council on these projects. We carry out installations all over the country and it's great to be doing such prestigious installations on our own doorstep. The council's commitment to solar is also helping us to secure jobs in Nottingham."

Councillor Alan Clark, Nottingham City Council's Portfolio Holder for Energy, added: "This is part of the city wide approach that we're taking to carbon reduction and follows on the heels of the successful installation of solar panels on nearly 2000 homes across the city. Not only do occupiers benefit from the cuts in their bills, but also the money we get back from the Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) will be re-invested in other energy efficiency initiatives in the future.

"The Government lost its bid to overturn a High Court ruling which said that its plans to cut subsidies for solar panels on homes are unlawful. Whilst the Government may appeal, it is our understanding that we will receive the higher FIT rate from these two schemes.

"After 2 March we will review the feasibility of installing solar panels on a number of other appropriate council properties, like schools and leisure centres, in light of the availability of incentives and cost of installation."

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