Ovesco Sunny Solar Schools

Developing community-owned renewable energy sources at local schools, and engaging local people with STEM.

Ovesco director with pupils using energy-generating bike
Community share offer at Pound Hill School, Crawley
Energy champions at STEM event

Our story

Community energy company Ovesco (Ouse Valley Energy Services) has been developing community-owned renewable energy installations with schools across East Sussex for 10 years. Today, we support 8 school sites through Ovesco Sunny Solar Schools. This project sees Ovesco installing their solar PV panels on the roof of a school for free and providing access to reduced daytime electricity prices for 25 years.

We’re passionate about not only helping schools to access green energy and reduce their bills but supporting education around climate change and renewables. All of the schools we support have a screen installed in a communal area sharing educational content on solar energy.

Ovesco volunteers also act as STEM ambassadors, both visiting the schools themselves and taking part in local events to promote education around renewables. Though this has been difficult during the pandemic, we are looking to increase in-person engagement once again. In addition, we’ve hosted a number of pupils from the schools we support on work placements with Ovesco.

The Rural Community Energy Fund helped us to launch the project and the very first Ovesco Sunny Solar Schools installation was an additional 30 kW of solar are Kings Academy in Ringmer, followed by St John’s School in Brighton. Today, we have 250 kW of solar capacity across the 8 schools we support. Some of the schools are part of Ashden’s LESS CO2 programme.

In the future, we hope to expand our solar arrays at more sites - both schools and organisations.

You can find out more about Ovesco Sunny Solar Schools at https://ovesco.co.uk/new-projects/sunny-schools-share-offer/

Our advice

Connect with Community Energy South – If you want to start exploring this type of community scheme, it’s a good idea to start with Community Energy South. Take a look at their webinars and connect with groups who have done this before.

Think about your messaging – We work with a range of schools from secondary schools to primary schools and a special needs school. We have to really think about engaging with schools in a way that is tailored to the pupils. Our mantra has become ‘clean energy from the sun’ as it’s a way into the subject for everyone with any level of knowledge. We also consider how we can link our messaging and support to the curriculum to provide real benefit for pupils.

Find like-minded champions – Connecting with people inside schools who are passionate about the environment and renewables is a great way to gather momentum and start to get a project like this off the ground.

Our metrics

Energy generated
Carbon savings
Cost savings
Pupil engagement and resources
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