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Major Whiteknights renewables programme begins

Solar panels on RUSU building

Work has begun to quadruple the amount of renewable energy the University generates on its Whiteknights campus by the autumn.

The first new installation, at the Student Union, is almost complete, covering all suitable roof spaces with panels to create the University’s largest solar panel array of 140 kWp – enough to supply 20% of the building’s annual electricity needs.

Work has also commenced on an installation at JJ Thomson, which once completed later this month, will be itself become the University’s largest system PV system, at 142 kWp.  In combination, RUSU and JJ Thomson’s solar PV systems will double Whiteknights’ solar generation capacity.

Later this summer, seven further installations will double this increased capacity again, providing a total of nearly 1 MWp of generation on Whiteknights.  The additional planned installations are:

  • Meteorology -        43 kWp
  • Agriculture -          77 kWp
  • Psychology -         40 kWp
  • Harry Pitt -             81 kWp
  • Archaeology -       40 kWp
  • Energy Centre –   50 kWp
  • Sports Park –        118 kWp

The RUSU installation has been under consideration for some while, and is funded from the University’s carbon reduction budget, whilst the eight further systems are funded through the large Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund grant award the University received in October 2020 from Salix Finance.

Dan Fernbank, Energy & Sustainability Director, said “these solar panel installations are part of a major programme of works to make significant strides in slashing our carbon emissions, bringing zero carbon electricity supplies to many more buildings.  These systems produce almost twice as much energy per panel as our older systems; demonstrating how rapid technology advances can help us deliver on our zero carbon ambitions.”

Once complete, approximately 4% of Whiteknights’ electricity will be generated from renewables on campus, with a further 16% generated from its combined heat and power (CHP) engine.

A further 165 kWp solar PV is installed across London Road, MERL, Greenlands Henley Business School and CEDAR Farm.

Footnote: kWp is kilowatt peak; which is the maximum electrical power output of a PV system

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