Solar power gets a plug in 100 schools

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The Independent Online
Schools will be turned into miniature power stations under an experimental scheme to install solar panels in their playgrounds, writes Lucy Ward.

One hundred schools taking part in the government-backed project will be able to generate free electricity in return for a one third contribution to the start-up costs.

They hope to produce enough power from the panels, mounted in "fun" shapes on bicycle sheds or purpose-built structures, to run computer suites, with any extra being sold to the National Grid.

Pupils will also be able to use computers to analyse data from the panels, calculating the amount of energy generated and possibly adjusting controls for maximum efficiency.

Schools and further education colleges are being invited to take part in the scheme by a consortium aiming to promote the use of solar power in the UK. The partners in the Scolar Programme, which include universities, electricity companies and green energy research groups, hope the experiments will demonstrate the efficiency of solar energy.

Schools are likely to have to contribute around pounds 3,500 to join. The remaining costs will be met by pounds 1m government cash and pounds 2.5m from the Scolar consortium.