A TRAILBLAZING college is set to become one of the largest providers of sun-fuelled power in Basingstoke when it installs more than £100,000 of solar panels.
Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) is beginning the first phase of a project in 2013, when up to 400 panels will be installed on the roof of the engineering block at the college, in Worting Road.
BCoT principal Anthony Bravo hopes that more panels will be put on the main college blocks at a later stage, costing up to £350,000, but there are no firm plans for this as yet.
The college has worked with Basingstoke Energy Services Co-operative, which aims to make the town a centre of excellence in renewable energy, and has offered technical advice on the installation.
College bosses are yet to decide on the provider of the solar panels, but the panels are expected to produce 85,000kw of energy over the course of a year. Any excess electricity that the college produces will be fed into the National Grid, producing income for BCoT.
Mr Bravo said: “It is becoming paramount that large institutions need to take responsibility and actively promote and encourage eco friendliness. I think it’s morally right. By installing these solar panels, we are making a huge commitment to this.”
Referring to how the panels will also make good business sense, Mr Bravo said: “They will pay for themselves within eight years and have a life-span of 20-plus years.
“We estimate this approach will cut our bills by 50 per cent. After eight years, we will have free electricity, but all the time you have the panels, your electricity bill goes down.”
Mr Bravo added that the project will contribute to the college’s commitment to The Green Deal – a Government initiative which is designed to help householders and businesses increase the energy efficiency of properties across the UK.
He said: “We are part of the community and think this is something we should do. I’m hoping other colleges and other schools will see the advantages of it.”