Could solar panels save schools?

Solar panels could be the answer for struggling schools. Managing Director, Alex Hurn, believes schools can benefit significantly by making the right energy efficiency upgrades.

Solar panels have become one of the most popular energy saving installations in the last few years and as the summer term begins, there’s no better time to consider the potential of solar power.

How can solar panels benefit schools?

Solar power has gained significant attention as an environmentally friendly and sustainable source of energy. Beyond its global impact, solar power can play a vital role in transforming educational institutions.

“By installing solar panels, schools can harness the sun's power and reap numerous benefits that extend beyond financial savings” comments Alex.

A report published in TES (formerly Times Education Supplement) explained how a CEO of a multi-trust academy saved £1.5m by upgrading to solar panels and other energy saving sources.

“Schools have really felt the crunch in recent months, particularly over the winter where some even refused to turn their heating on.

“Pupils shouldn’t have to suffer whilst attending school, and their learning shouldn’t be put on the line due to rising costs” Alex added.

By generating electricity on-site, schools can significantly reduce their reliance on traditional power grids, translating into substantial cost savings on utility bills.

Why solar panels?

Every school building has their own unique requirements and goals, whether it’s becoming more energy efficient or looking for ways to maintain affordable running costs.

Alex believes that all schools should consider installing solar panels; “Solar panels offer numerous benefits, transcending financial savings to encompass environmental responsibility and enhanced resilience.

“By embracing solar energy, schools not only save money but reduce their carbon footprint and provide students with a hands-on understanding of renewable energy technologies".

Solar energy is a clean and renewable resource, that doesn't produces any harmful emissions or pollutants. Where schools typically have large roofs, this makes them the ideal building type for solar panel installation.

“Through transitioning to solar power, schools can drastically reduce their carbon footprint, demonstrating their commitment to sustainable practices.

“This eco-friendly choice not only contributes to a healthier environment for students and staff but also serves as a powerful educational tool, inspiring young minds to embrace renewable energy and environmental stewardship”.

More upgrades to consider

Schools now have access to a share of £500m, thanks to additional funding pledged by the Government at the end of 2022.

The fund was specifically designed, following the emergence of both the cost of living and energy crisis, to financially support educational institutions in carrying out energy efficiency upgrade works - helping them keep up with energy costs.

The fund can be used to make changes such as switching to LED lights or improving insulation networks.

Proper insulation helps maintain a comfortable indoor temperature and reduces the need for excessive heating or cooling. Additionally, schools can look to install programmable thermostats that set temperature schedules.

“Consider using energy-efficient heating and cooling systems and explore options such as geothermal or solar-powered systems where feasible.

“Even replacing outdated appliances, such as refrigerators, vending machines, and computers, with energy-efficient models can help. A Chartered Building Surveyor will be able to advise on the best ways to upgrade your school property.

“Remember, energy efficiency is an ongoing process, and continuous monitoring and improvement are essential”.

By implementing these measures, schools can make significant strides towards becoming more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

How a Chartered Surveyor can help

Our Chartered Building Surveyors understand the need for reliable and efficient energy upgrades within school buildings.

Our Surveyors have worked with all types of builds to ensure they are sustainable, resilient, and impactful.

A Chartered Building Surveyor will also be able to recommend to you whether solar panelling will benefit your specific building; explaining the process, the costs, and any other alterations they believe should be made.

Alongside solar panelling, Alex recommends that insulation should be another top priority; “Surveyors can inspect the school building for any air leaks and insulate walls, floors, and roofs as necessary. Energy efficient windows and doors can also help reduce heat loss or gain”.

Who are we?

From advice around feasibility, cost planning, undertaking the work in the current market, and specifying works before overseeing and managing the implementation of changes in accordance with EPC corresponding report recommendations, our chartered building surveyors will be able to identify any upgrades your school/college needs and advise you on the best measures going forward.

Email us at or call our Southampton team on 02380 014786 / London at 020 3143 2128

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