Facilities managers Mitie are showing ‘the only way is solar’ on the public buildings of an unfairly belittled county. (The Energyst declares a native interest).
A total of 15 schools in Essex, England’s sixth-largest county, now have Mitie-organised PV arrays. They have pumped out nearly three-quarters of a million units of clean electricity, on course to save £115,000 each year on the schools’ expenses.
Better yet, in only the next three months to October, the giant buildings maintenance firm is contracted to install more PV on a further 28 publicly-owned roofs in the county, including more schools.
Recent installations are believed to include the county’s Public Records Office in Chelmsford.
At more than 250 locations which it manages for Essex County Council, Mitie ran a structured review of PV potential. Feasibility studies earmarked the most productive sites, and contractors began work this spring.
Essex’s big solar drive is believed to have been part-funded by county finance officers with cash from of sources such as the Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund.
Mitie ran the scheme through its Communities unit. The project’s second phase will now see roof-mounted panels grace 12 more schools, plus 16 libraries and children centres. Due for commissioning by October, the new installations will cut the council’s carbon emissions by an extra 220 tonnes a year.
Some installations have been delivered under a project called Empower 2.0. It aims to empower Essex dwellers to participate actively in the energy market.
With no homes managed for the county by Mitie, central government’s Green Homes Grant was never in contention. The GHG collapsed in a shambles in March without ministerial apology; its tiny rump survives to the heavily curtailed benefit of councils wishing to green up public housing.
Councillor Peter Schwier, Essex CC’s lead on climate action, commented, “I am delighted that the first phase of this project has now been successfully completed. This is a fantastic step in the right direction.
“With the Essex Climate Action Commission about to launch later in the summer its recommendations for a net zero Essex”, he went on, “we expect many similar initiatives will be proposed.
“These solar systems will showcase the reality of net-zero electricity to thousands of pupils and staff, so they can experience renewable energy first-hand.”