St George’s school in Harpenden wanted to lower their energy bill and demonstrate to their pupils how renewable energy can reduce their carbon footprint. Their modern Sports Centre had a perfect roof and we were easily able to fit the 200 panels that make up a 50kW solar system. Not only will it supply a huge proportion of the electricity requirements of the Centre, it’s a visible reminder to the hundreds of children that walk past it every day. They’ve been told about global warming and climate change in the classroom – now they can see that their school is doing their bit to help.
We used Active Array’s 250W polycrystalline panels because they have junction boxes that transmit information to a combiner box which is linked to the school’s router. This not only publishes live data to a web portal allowing pupils, parents and staff alike to see exactly how much energy is being produced, the carbon offset, the equivalent number of trees planted and litres of oil saved. What’s more, at an installer level, we can see what every single panel is doing both in real time and in comparison with previous days, months and years. This data can be used to simply check the performance or, given the correct access permissions, to demonstrate to a physics class what happens when you shade a number of panels or to give budding mathematicians the opportunity to spot patterns in hundreds of lines of data that update themselves on a constant basis. This is really learning about renewable energy.