Situated in a beautiful part of Tipperary, Upperchurch School near Thurles was a lucky recipient of a Friends of the Earth programme which sponsored 5 Irish schools to install solar solutions. This programme benefits the school in two ways. Firstly, the solar panels can generate surplus electricity for the grid which creates additional funds for the management group. And secondly the renewable energy aspect educates children on the energy saving benefits of microgeneration at an early age.
We were lucky enough to win the tender to install the solar solution for the schools. And each one of them had their own challenges, like different kinds of roof or different setups. Upperchurch was actually a quite straightforward install and it brought many benefits like year-on-year savings. But a more ongoing challenge lies in the fact that schools are closed in July and August – peak daylight hours when electricity could be exported and earn them more income.
Along with the quantifiable savings coming in for Upperchurch, Friends of the Earth have partnered with us to campaign for a feed-in tariff or export tariff for schools and community centres. This will hopefully help these institutions more sustainably serve their community in the long run.