Solar Panels installed at Aston University

Solar Panels on Roof

20 June 2012

Aston University has recently installed a 31.5 kWh photovoltaic system onto the Main Building roof. The 130 PV panels take up over a quarter of the roof and will help Aston meet its ambitious target of reducing carbon emissions by 48% by 2020.

The panels were installed by Carillion Energy Services over four days and then connected to a nearby invertor. Solar inverters convert the electricity from solar panels (DC, or direct current) into power that can be used by wired products such as TVs, computers and lights (AC, or alternating current).

In a typical year, the PV system is expected to generate around 26,000 kWh. This is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of around five to six medium sized homes. This will save Aston around £2,300 per year in electricity costs.

The electricity generated by the PV system will also bring in regular payments of around £3,900 a year over 25 years, through the new Government Feed-In Tariffs (FITs) scheme. This scheme is designed to help increase the level of renewable energy in the UK towards a target of 15% of total energy from renewables by 2020.

Combining the utility savings and the FITs revenue should mean that the PV system will be paid back within the next 10 years; once we have paid back the initial investment we will continue to make further savings.

Andrew Bryers, Energy Manager at Aston University said, “The installation and use of solar power for renewable energy supports Aston’s sustainability objectives and highlights to all how important reducing our energy usage is on campus. This installation not only helps towards reducing our carbon emissions, but also demonstrates that such technologies are viable energy sources for now and the future.”

Aston University has been ranked in the top 10 of People and Planet’s award winning ‘Green League’ for the past two years. The university is a recognised leader in the field of sustainability and already has a number of ‘green’ technologies on campus, such as a Combined Heat and Power plant, a wind turbine and green roof on the recently built student residences, and an electric car and charging points.

For further media information contact Kreesha Pattani, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or k.pattani1@aston.ac.uk