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Solar panels help to reduce University's reliance on the grid – University of Reading

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Solar panels help to reduce University's reliance on the grid

Release Date 10 January 2012

Solar panels on the roof of the Carrington Building

Two buildings at the University of Reading's Whiteknights campus have been converted to generate green electricity with more than 200 solar panels fitted to their roofs.

The Carrington Building, already one of the University's most efficient buildings, and the low-rise Facilities Management Directorate (FMD) building, have been installed with a total of 208 new photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.

The total installed capacity of 48.88kWp will reduce the University's energy demand taken from the grid and cut its annual carbon footprint by some 16,415 tonnes of CO2 per year. The installation is part of the University's Clean & Green agenda to cut its energy use and carbon footprint by more than a third by 2015.

The panels were installed in a deal with power company SSE (Scottish & Southern Energy), which paid for the up-front costs of the PV panels and will therefore benefit from Feed In Tariff (FIT) payments. The new arrays will make a significant contribution to the energy requirements of both buildings.

The electricity produced from the panels on the FMD building will be equivalent to the amount needed to keep the lights on for six weeks a year. The panels on the Carrington building will generate sufficient energy to power the building's ground source heat pump, which heats and cools the building to such a level of efficiency that the building has no need for additional gas central heating or air conditioning.

The large arrays will be able to generate up to 450kWh of electricity on the sunniest of days - enough to power the equivalent of 40 homes. The panels will even work in overcast conditions, providing a valuable contribution to the University's energy requirements.

Denise Shearman, head of campus services, said: "This new development will make a small, but important contribution to the University's overall target of cutting its carbon emissions by 35% by 2015.

"The University of Reading is a world leader in education and research into climate change, its effects on people and the environment and how we can all play a role in mitigating it. We all have a responsibility to make a contribution to reduce our impact on the environment. Through schemes such as this the University is showing that we practise what we preach."

Justin Claxton, of SSE Energy Solutions, said: "We are pleased to be able to assist the University with their carbon reduction goals and complete these solar photovoltaic projects. The installations went well and were completed within seven days from initial site set up to producing energy from a renewable source.  We look forward to continuing our work with the University on future energy solution projects."



For more information, contact Pete Castle at the University of Reading press office on 0118 378 7391 or


Notes to editors


University of Reading

The University of Reading is one of the top research-intensive universities in the UK and is listed as among the best 1% of universities in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011-12).

The University is proud of its contributions to the environment. It is internationally renowned for research into environmental sciences, including at the Walker Institute for Climate System Research and the Technologies for Sustainable Built Environments research centre. The University manages beautiful green spaces, such as Whiteknights Campus, voted the top university green space in the UK at the 2011 Green Flag awards, and is committed to reducing its impact on the environment through its Clean & Green sustainability scheme.


SSE Energy Solutions

SSE Energy Solutions provides services covering a broad range of technologies and areas, including solar, renewable heating, insulation, as well as other energy efficiency and carbon saving solutions.

It is part of SSE, one of the largest energy companies in the UK. SSE is involved in the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity; energy trading; the storage, distribution and supply of gas, electrical and utility contracting; and telecoms. It is the leading generator of electricity from renewable resources.

SSE supplies over 10 million customers through its retail brands, Southern Electric, SWALEC, Scottish Hydro Electric and Atlantic. It transmits and distributes electricity to over 3.6 million customers in central southern England and the north of Scotland.

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