Wakefield Council Cabinet members are on the verge of making a landmark decision that could see local schools embrace renewable energy through the installation of solar panels. The proposal, set to be discussed in the coming weeks, aims to collaborate with the not-for-profit organisation, Solar for Schools, to identify suitable schools for this green initiative.

Solar for Schools has expressed its commitment to invest a substantial £2 million into the project, contingent on the acceptance of all 22 schools that have been shortlisted for the installations. Additionally, the organisation plans to provide valuable learning materials on climate change to both teachers and pupils at the participating schools. If approved, this program is expected to extend over the next couple of years, allowing more schools in the district to join hands in reducing carbon emissions.

The primary goal of this ambitious project is to equip Wakefield schools with solar panels, either mounted on their rooftops or on designated land, to harness the potential of renewable electricity. By doing so, these educational institutions can significantly reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, promoting a cleaner and more sustainable energy source.

Apart from the evident environmental benefits, the installation of solar panels is also expected to have a positive impact on the schools’ finances. With the generation of renewable energy, these institutions can substantially cut down their energy costs over time, enabling them to allocate more resources to the betterment of the education system.

While the proposal is still under review, the Council Cabinet members have shown enthusiasm for this forward-thinking approach to create a greener and eco-friendly educational landscape in the region. The initiative’s potential to foster environmental awareness among students and staff is seen as an invaluable component in tackling the challenges posed by climate change.

The decision on whether to proceed with the solar panel installations and initiate this sustainable education initiative is eagerly awaited, with the hope of a positive outcome. If given the green light, this project could pave the way for other districts to follow suit and make significant strides in reducing their carbon footprint.

Cllr Jack Hemingway, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “This is a really exciting scheme which takes us closer to our goal of becoming a Carbon Net Zero organisation by 2030. This measure would stop an estimated 456 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year from polluting our district and the money these schools save would be put back into educating children.”​

“Schools have a vital role to play in educating young people about the effects of climate change. Having solar panels power their premises will help us to really bring this message home to pupils, parents, and staff.”​

The meeting is on Tuesday 25 July from 1030am.