St Richard Gwyn Solar Farm Opening – 4th November 2016
St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School has been provided with a unique opportunity - to be powered by solar energy from an external solar farm! We believe we are the only school in
the UK if not Europe to be in this position and are delighted that after two years of planning with Conergy UK the St Richard Gwyn solar farm is now fully operational.
The advantages are two fold; firstly, the students are taught the benefits of sustainable development and global citizenship in the Welsh Baccalaureate, science, geography, technology amongst other subjects. The fact that we use a solar farm to power our school today and for the next 25 years brings the theory alive. Students have a greater appreciation and understanding of how we can use natural clean resources as an energy source to power our school.
Secondly, the reduction in expenditure for utilities from having a direct feed into school and combining this with energy efficient LED lighting throughout the building reduces our electricity costs by 75-80% and allows us to redirect funding to continue to provide a first class education for all and continue on the journey of sustained school improvement.
’Jane Hutt AM presented the school with a commemorative plaque marking the opening of the solar farm on Friday 4th November 2016 stating ‘I am delighted to join you today to open this ground breaking solar farm connection. Ground breaking because, I believe that St Richard Gwyn is the only school in Wales - possibly the only school in the UK - with an external connection to a solar farm. What a wonderful accolade! It is remarkable to think that this farm will provide enough renewable energy to power the school during daylight hours. Indeed, I understand that since work was completed on July 23rd 2016, you have noticed a significant reduction in the use of electricity with an initial estimated cost saving of £8000 per annum. And what a wonderful insight for pupils - right on their doorstep. They will be able to learn more about their natural environment as well as serious issues such as climate change and the need for renewable energy. These are issues which will only become more pressing for future generations.
The Welsh Government believes that solar is a vital part of the renewable energy mix for Wales. We want to reduce CO2 emissions-we are looking to produce more of our energy from renewable and low carbon energy sources as laid out in our Energy policy: Energy Wales: A Low Carbon Transition.
The Welsh Government’s vision is to see all communities and businesses using locally generated electricity and heat, from a range of renewable installations, to supply local demand and reduce our dependence on central generation.
St Richard Gwyn School and Conergy UK are doing their bit towards this and I would like to thank all those involved in this worthwhile project and congratulate you on its completion.’
ITV news filmed the visit to the solar farm and speeches which were given by Jane Hutt AM and Steve Lord (Deputy Head) and interviews with the senior students.
The opening was attended by Jane Hutt AM, Chris Jones (Archdiocese of Cardiff), David Waters (Conergy), Megan Boots (ITV news), David Powell (LEA), Nick Thomas (LEA), Paul McLoughlin (Chair of Governors), Martin Price (Vice Chair of Governors), Paul Burke (past Chair of Governors), Steven Grech (Headteacher), Stephen Lord (Deputy Headteacher) and senior students.