Wiltshire College & University Centre (WCUC) has completed the installation of solar panels at the Trowbridge campus as part of its ongoing pledge towards sustainability.
By summer 2023, WCUC will have solar panels at all four main campuses. Existing panels are already in place at Chippenham and Salisbury and planning has been secured to add 800 panels at Lackham, with installation expected to start before the end of May.
Solar panel specialists Otter Energy has developed the schemes with photovoltaic (PV) panels on three sections of the roof of the Trowbridge campus on College Road. The panels will provide 160 kilowatts peak (kWp) of electricity. At Lackham, PV panels are planned for four separate areas across the site and will generate 230 kWp.
Steve Campion, Deputy Principal Corporate Resources at WCUC, said: “As a large organisation with approximately 10,000 students and 1,000 staff at sites across the county, we consume a lot of energy. We are continuing to put in place a number of measures to reduce our carbon footprint and energy use.
“The solar panels project is one key part of our overall objective. Once we complete installation of panels at Lackham, part of the electricity used at each campus will be generated through sustainable sources on site.
“We continue to explore new energy-efficient processes and are actively engaging with staff, students and external partners about how we can be as sustainable as possible.”
Thomas Burnett, Founder and Director of Otter Energy, added: “We have been working with WCUC to develop and implement the schemes since 2019 and are delighted they are now going ahead. The installations will save 200 tonnes of GHG emissions per year, or enough to power more than 100 homes with clean electricity.”
The solar panel scheme is in line with WCUC’s renewed drive towards sustainability, stated as a core focus in its new five-year Strategic Plan released last year.
Other sustainability initiatives already under way across WCUC include the installation of new cladding to the rear exterior of the Salisbury campus. This is due for completion in December 2023 and will improve thermal efficiency across the site.
There is also ongoing investment in new energy efficient equipment, appliances and devices across all sites – such as LED lighting, building management controls, boilers and heating systems – and energy saving modes are being applied to as many existing appliances as possible.
A newly-purchased campus vehicle used by the Estates team is fully electric and WCUC is also engaged with a contractor to install electric vehicle charging points at all campuses for use by staff and students.
Staff and students have also been consulted on identifying potential energy saving and eco-friendly measures. One recent initiative has seen the removal of most single-use plastics from canteens, with compostable cutlery and porcelain crockery now in use and incentives to use re-usable cups.
PICTURE: Andy Hill (right), Head of Estates and Services at Wiltshire College & University Centre, and Thomas Burnett, Founder and Director of Otter Energy, on the roof of the Trowbridge campus alongside the newly installed solar panels