The college is in the final stages of an ambitious project to combat its carbon footprint by installing £160,000 worth of solar panels at the London Road Campus.

SCG’s long-running drive towards creating a more sustainable college is reaching a high point this Christmas as the installation of 731 solar panels on the roof of the Engineering & Construction Centre will finally be completed.

This marks the conclusion of an 18 month-long project, organised by the college Estates and Finance teams, who’ve been busy identifying which areas of the college require the most energy to run day-to-day and finding sustainable solutions.

Shrewsbury Colleges Group is continuously putting changes in place to be more environmentally friendly. The solar panels follow the pre-pandemic projects of 420 tree saplings being planted on the sports field and a campus-wide lighting refit at the London Road Campus to install energy efficient LED units.

This system of high-performance solar panels – which have a lifespan of 25 years and are designed to generate a peak of 200 kW hours of energy (around 180 MW of power each year) – is one of the largest investments in sustainability ever made by the college.

This project has been possible with expert input from Arcadis (the world’s leading sustainable design company) to help ensure that the quality and output of the system installed is maximised. The college has also received essential assistance from the Marches Renewable Energy Fund, which has provided a grant for 50% of the cost of the panels and installation. This significant investment was supported by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Adrian Marshall, the Marches Renewable Energy Project Manager, said: “The Marches Renewable Energy scheme (now closed to new applications) provided grants to support the installation of renewable technologies and reduce green-house gas emissions. We are delighted to support the Shrewsbury Colleges Group to meet their carbon reduction target with a grant of £80,815. The installation of the solar panels will produce annual carbon savings of 54 tonnes per year. This is an excellent output for the scheme”.

The solar panels will make a significant contribution towards reducing the amount of electricity that the campus draws from the national grid. Even though SCG already buys its electricity on a green energy tariff, it will help to further combat the carbon impact of the college. If the system produces more power than the campus needs, this renewable energy will be fed back into the grid for others to use.

Paul Partridge, SCG’s Finance Director, said: “It has been really rewarding to be able to undertake this project that is sustainable in all senses: both helping to reduce carbon emissions and also beneficial in saving money to reinvest in improving our student’s education.”