Sparsholt College’s (incorporating Andover College) green credentials have been given a further boost with news that they have the largest portfolio of roof-mounted solar installations in the UK of any school, college or university. Dr Alan Whitehead, MP, Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change) attended an event at the College on Friday 10 June 2016 to celebrate and recognise this achievement.

During his address to the audience including a number of leading figures from the sustainable energy industry, he said: “I have spent many years in Parliament promoting the transition of energy to renewables. This is a revolutionary initiative which I can’t praise highly enough and credit to everyone involved. This initiative has scale and similar schemes should be developed up and down the country with organisations generating and supplying their own energy. I confidentially predict that Sparsholt will have a generating asset for the local grid which is something we need for the future. Sparsholt can show people how to take the revolution forward and I wish the College every success in getting a wider palette in creating energy”.

Across the Winchester and Andover campuses there are 20 different rooftops with solar panels which will generate annually 570,000 kWh, enough energy to power 173 houses. The annual CO² saving generated by the panels will be 317 tonnes and since installation, the production of 73 tonnes of CO² have already been avoided. 5,873 trees would have to be planted to extract the same amount of CO² (73 tonnes) from the atmosphere within 10 years or this CO² saving is the equivalent of a car going on a 564,725km journey.

Sparsholt and Andover College Principal Tim Jackson said: “We are incredibly proud of this achievement which is hugely significant to the College in terms of realising our sustainable energy ambitions. The carbon dioxide (CO²) savings since only April is the equivalent to 118811 litres of oil fuel or 16417 cubic metres of natural gas or 18 tonnes of coal. We are is firmly committed to introducing further technologies which reduce its carbon footprint while also developing a centre to train for the skills required by future generations looking to work in the renewable energy sector”.

To mark the occasion Andover College BTEC Art students created a work of art which symbolises solar and other renewable energies. This was presented to the College’s new President Lord Selborne who said: “My first role as President is to formally accept this award and recognise how Sparsholt has led the way in energy generation. The country faces a trilemma – the security and affordability of energy and decarbonisation and Sparsholt is leading the way”.

The College worked with a number of organisations in ensuring the successful delivery of the project. Green Nation, specialist renewable energy company, worked with Solar PV Partners Ltd, who developed the package and Spirit Solar who supplied and installed the panels.

Green Nation CEO Jonathan Thompson said: ““As a solar power enterprise, we spend our lives looking for partners with a passion for renewable energy and for getting things done. From our first contact with Sparsholt College, it was clear the team there was exceptional, and had a strong commitment to renewable energy, a well thought-out solar strategy, and was ready to make decisions and move forward. Within a few weeks, we agreed Power Purchase Agreements that allowed us to put funding in place for the installations. The resulting programme of 20 installation projects in different locations across the College’s estate was complex, and its success is a testament to the commitment of all those involved. We look forward to producing clean, green energy with the College for many years to come, and helping it to bring down the cost of electricity for the benefit of future generations of students.”

The College was recently recognised as the Green Business of the Year at the Winchester Business Excellence Awards for its ongoing commitment to carbon reduction.