Abigail Dombey, the university’s Environmental Manager, said: “At a time of reducing budgets, we can still install new solar PV panels and increase onsite renewable energy generation, thanks to this ground-breaking agreement with Brighton Energy Co-operative.”
During the twenty years of the lease, the arrays are expected to save the university over £125,000 and over 1,200 tonnes of carbon. After the lease expires, the university will take ownership of the solar arrays at no cost and will benefit from the now free electricity generated by the solar panels.
The construction works will be carried out during the next few months by Brighton Energy Co-operative’s installation partner, Genfit.
With this ambitious project, the university will bring its total installed onsite solar PV capacity to 433kW - including the 209kW owned by Brighton Energy Co-operative – and over 1,580 panels. The combined solar arrays will provide 3% of the university’s overall electricity demand and reduce the annual CO2 emissions by 178 tonnes.
Meanwhile Brighton Energy-Cooperative, whose solar PV arrays are funded through their investors, have now amassed a portfolio of well over 1 megawatt of installed capacity in the south east.
Energy cooperatives are growing in numbers across the country, and the University of Brighton is one of the first in the country to enter into this sort of ‘roof-lease’ agreement with an energy co-op.