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Ballymena Primary Schools Switch onto Solar!

Monday 10 Dec 07

Two Ballymena primary schools will be ordering their energy sunny side up from now on! Gracehill Primary School and Kells and Connor Primary School have each installed solar photovoltaic panels (PV), which will generate clean, environmentally friendly electricity. The two 5kWp systems, which were funded by Northern Ireland Electricity's Smart programme and the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB), will produce around 8000 units of electricity each year, a saving of over £800 on the schools' energy bills.

Janine Brady, NIE Energy, says there is great potential for solar power in Northern Ireland and is delighted local schools have switched onto solar. While visiting both schools this week to see the new solar technology, Janine said, "Renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies have the potential to substantially reduce the amounts of carbon dioxide (C02) emitted, helping to prevent climate change.

"Each 5kWp system will substantially reduce the carbon dioxide emitted into the local environment by around 2.5 tonnes. In recent years schools have become enthusiastic adopters of renewable energy, demonstrating a range of sustainable energy solutions such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal. We look forward to continuing our work with the Education Boards to promote renewable energy alternatives in schools throughout Northern Ireland."

Roy McClelland, Principal, Kells and Connor Primary School, says this is one of a number of energy saving initiatives at the school. "We are constantly looking for new ways to protect the local environment and the installtion of PV at the school is a constant remonder to the pupils, teachers and parents that we can all play a part in protecting our future."

Five primary schools in the North Eastern Board have installed the array of solar panels as part of the NIE and NEELB funded initiative.

Principal at Gracehill Primary School, Mr Lexie Scott, says this is an ideal opportunity not only to save on energy costs but also to educate the pupils about their ongoing responsibilities to the environment. "At Gracehill Primary School safeguarding the future of our puils is paramount, and replacing energy generated by fossil fuels with solar power makes very good sense. The panels arevery visable and it's a great opportunity for the pupils to see the power of nature in action!"

Robert McCreery, Energy and Environmental Officer for the North Eastern Education and Library Board says the Board is committed to reducing C02 emissions and has been introducing renewable energy technologies were possible in properties througout the area. "With the valuable support this year from NIE, we have installed solar panels at five schools in the North Eastern area. The Board is doing something positive for the environment by substituting the burning of fossil fuels with solar power to provide electricity. The schools benefit environmentally through a reduction in C02 emissions and they will also see savings on annual energy costs."

To find out more about saving energy and renewable energy solutions for your home, school or business check out the NIE Energy website www.nie-yourenergy.co.uk, the EST website www.est.org.uk or call the Energy Saving Trust on freephone 0800 512 012.