A GREEN deal providing cheap and renewable energy for classrooms and student accommodation has been struck at the University of Chichester.
The new initiative will see solar panels installed at the institution throughout the next six months in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint.
It is being led by community energy co-operative Solesco, which encourages residents to group together to buy shares in renewable technologies installed in their area.
The photovoltaic systems, which can generate 150kW of electricity from sunlight, are open as an investment for up to 400 people living in the Chichester area as well as for university students and staff.
Pete Tierney, director of estate management at the institution, said: “The installation of the new panels will ensure we reduce our overall carbon emissions by 43 per cent by 2020.
“It feeds into our sustainability plan to reduce fuel emissions by that date, which has so far included a recent £500,000 refurbishment of all campus lighting to save more than 400 tonnes of carbon each year.”
The photovoltaic systems, which will be mounted on the University’s students’ union to power its Chichester campus buildings, are to be installed Solesco, which works to raise the profile of community-owned renewable energy projects across the south coast.
Director of Solesco Dave Barton said: “The University fully understands the need to reduce its long-term energy costs and, from discussions over the last 12 months, it is clear they also see the benefit of renewable energy.
“The deal will create cheaper electricity over its 20-year lifetime against a fixed tariff, to be escalated only at the level of inflation, while shares will be offered for up to 400 people in and around Chichester.
“We will provide a good return on investment for nearby people, as well as for University students and staff, who will be able to see their investment in action.”
The green deal with the University, which was signed last week, will also ensure it stays on course to reduce its carbon emissions and dependency on electricity and natural gas by 25 per cent by the end of the decade.
Jodie Hope, the president of the students’ union, where the solar panels will be installed, said: “Many of our students quite rightly demand we tackle issues like climate change head on, so this initiative shows our commitment to becoming environmentally neutral.
“It will also benefit our students as any money saved from reduced energy bills will be spent on student-related activities throughout the year.”
To find out how to invest in the solar panel initiative, or other Solesco-led renewable energy projects in Chichester and Bognor Regis, visit www.solesco.co.uk.
Alternatively for more about the University of Chichester’s environmental policy, including its plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 2020, visit www.chi.ac.uk/about-us.