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The Benefits of Rebuilding Schools with Solar Panels

In recent months, it has been announced that 119 schools across the UK will need to be rebuilt due to the RAAC (a crumbly concrete) used during their construction. This issue presents a unique opportunity to improve the schools’ infrastructure and rethink how we can reconstruct them in a way that is both environmentally friendly and cost-effective. Let’s explore the benefits of rebuilding schools with solar panels.

The financial impact of solar panels

Speaking on the financial implications of using solar panels when rebuilding schools, CEO of Project Solar Simon Peat talks about how “it’s no secret that schools across the country are facing rocketing energy bills. Figures from the Department for Education show that, in England, local authority-maintained schools spent 61% more on energy in the year 2022-23 than the previous year.”

If the schools were to adopt renewable energy sources like solar panels, The Carbon Trust estimates that UK schools could reduce their energy costs by around £44 million per year. This substantial saving could be redirected to enhance the educational experience and alleviate financial pressure on schools.

While children attend school to learn, their outdoor time is a vital part of their day. Spending time outdoors gets them the fresh air and exercise they require while encouraging an active imagination. With the £44 million that The Carbon Trust estimates schools could save, public schools would have enough money to provide over 10,000 playgrounds to schools across the country – that’s almost half of the public primary schools in the UK!

According to Berkshire Live, parents spend an average of £125.17 per school trip, which one in ten parents can’t afford. With the £44 million that could be saved using solar panels, schools would be able to help 351,521 secure funding for these trips, giving lower-income families equal opportunities to be enriched with these experiences.

Environmental Benefits

Beyond the financial savings, integrating solar panels into school buildings is highly beneficial for the environment. By using renewable resources like solar panels to power schools, both the staff’s and students’ carbon footprint can be significantly reduced. This contributes to our broader collective goal of combating climate change and promoting sustainability. With the UK’s mission to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, this is more important now than ever.

Solar panels generate clean energy, which means fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional energy sources. This reduction in carbon emissions helps mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, making the planet a healthier place for future generations. By using renewable energy, we can depend less on fossil fuels, protecting them for future generations. 

By incorporating solar panels, schools can also set a positive environmental example within their communities. They can show how sustainable practices can be effectively implemented, encouraging other local institutions and households to follow suit. This ripple effect can significantly contribute to broader environmental goals and foster a culture of sustainability.

Community Engagement

Engaging with the community is a great way for schools to strengthen their relationship with the surrounding area. Having solar panels installed could be a great opportunity to connect with the community and host educational hubs and workshops about renewable energy.

Educational Benefits

Schools equipped with solar panels can use them as educational tools for hands-on learning. This practical approach to education can help children foster a deeper understanding and commitment to sustainable practices. It will allow students to learn about sustainability, global warming and environmental science firsthand. By educating the children about how solar panels can reduce the need for fossil fuels and help mitigate climate change, they will have a better understanding of why solar energy is so important.

Integrating renewable energy solutions into the school’s infrastructure can also inspire students to explore a whole new range of careers, particularly targeting children in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Creating this pathway for students during the early years can motivate them to work hard and achieve their goals. Lessons on how solar panels work, the installation process and the impact on energy consumption can be incorporated into the curriculum, providing a comprehensive educational experience.

By seeing their school actively engaging in sustainable practices, students can develop a sense of pride and responsibility towards their environment. This can lead to more environmentally conscious behaviour both at school and at home, multiplying the positive effects of the initiative.


With many solar panel suppliers, including Project Solar, offering finance options, it’s a more manageable way for schools to fit this into their budgets. This forward-thinking approach to rebuilding the 119 schools paves the way for a brighter and more sustainable future. The financial savings, environmental benefits, and educational opportunities make it the perfect solution to a bad situation. By investing in renewable energy, we can create schools that not only educate but also inspire, set positive examples for future generations and contribute to a greener, more sustainable world. 

To achieve the UK’s net-zero emissions goal by 2050, Simon Peat recommends that “the entire school real estate portfolio in the UK needs to upgrade,” and that the “RAAC rebuilds are a great place to really build momentum.” If you’re looking for a more sustainable energy source, visit Project Solar to find out more. With financing options available, making sustainable choices has never been more accessible.