Trinity School, Croydon
Trinity gives Green Power top marks for its energy saving project.
Trinity school is an independent charitable school with around a 1000 pupils and 160 support and teaching staff. It’s owned by The Whitgift Foundation: one of the largest charitable organisations in the UK.
Trinity school was founded in 1882 and has been located at its current 17-acre site in Croydon since 1965.
Trinity’s green challenge
The school has always been conscious of its social responsibilities, an attitude that in recent years has seen it take an added interest in the way the school uses energy and the impact its decisions have on the environment.
Their first project was to use power voltage optimisation to reduce their power consumption from 240 to 220v. This decision resulted in a 9% energy saving and also helped to reduce the wear and tear on the schools computers. Trinity also invested in a heat source pump to supplement their existing heating system. Encouraged by these green initiatives, they looked for further opportunities to enhance their green ambitions.
Two years ago, Trinity looked to solar PV panels as a green energy addition to the roof of their new music school. A renewable energy source had been a stipulation from their local authority and they were keen to ensure solar PV would be their best option.
Trinity asked four companies to tender for the project. Their unanimous decision was to place the contract with Green Power Projects.
As Trinity’s Estate Manger, Robin McKinlay, explained, “GPP differentiated itself by offering a competitive quote with comprehensive documentation and outlining how the feed in tariffs (FiT) worked. They also showed us how, with Solar Edge technology, we could measure our solar production and monitor the amount being saved against our full energy usage.”
Impressed by Green Power’s thorough and confident approach to calculating the returns that solar could provide, Trinity revised their plans and looked at how they might extend their solar PV plans to provide power for the whole school estate.
This was certainly a wise decision, as Estate Manager, Robin McKinley, explained. “We had just one MPAN number for the whole estate and the rules around extra funding from the government meant that we would only get one chance to apply for the full range of funding subsidies available to us.”
Seizing the opportunity, Trinity, in consultation with Green Power Projects, embraced a more ambitious plan for the school estate with a 243kw system – nearly 1,000 panels. This makes it the largest fully monitored solar PV installation for any school in the UK (at least for the time being).
Trinity’s Estate Manager was also keen on the project’s wider implications. “The cost savings were not the only consideration as the construction is also an educational show piece. We plan to show the students, parents and visitors to the school our savings in real time on a monitor in our reception area.”
Approval for the system was given in October 2017. Work started in November and is due to be completed by the end of the year.
A profitable outcome is guaranteed for Trinity
The ROI for this project is estimated at 8 years 7months (a figure that includes VAT, which cannot be reclaimed). The savings are made up from the much lower consumption of energy from the grid and the FIT payments that are Government guaranteed for the next 20 years.
The school is a registered not for profit charity - students contribute to their education based on their ability to pay. Any money saved goes back into the school and supporting the children.
The accumulative return/saving over the 20-year period and, taking into account the rising cost of energy, has been calculated at a conservative estimate of £930k. And there’s an environmental bonus too - a saving of nearly 2,000 tonnes of CO2.
A happy outcome for Trinity, a wonderful commendation for Green Power Projects’ enthusiasm for an investment - that’s an education in the power of solar to make a real difference to young lives and the environment.