SCHOOLS across the county spent almost £6m on electricity bills last year, a freedom of information request has revealed.
Environment charity Friends of the Earth requested the figure and says schools could be earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a year if Hampshire County Council helped pay to install solar panels.
In 2013 to 2014 the 530 local authority schools in Hampshire spent £5.7m on electricity. Portsmouth’s 60 schools spent £677,582.
But Friends of the Earth calculates that by installing solar power, the county council could offset this by around £4.2m a year – 74 per cent of its electricity bill.
It says it would leave more money to spend on playgrounds, libraries and school trips. In Portsmouth the figure is £480,000 a year – 71 per cent of the electricity bill.
Sue Holt, Havant Friends of the Earth campaigner, said: ‘I’m shocked by how much schools are paying for their electricity and through no fault of their own – many just aren’t aware of the alternatives.
‘Solar provides a real opportunity for each school to offset electricity bills by up to £8,000 a year and to pump money back into education but they need a bit of help to get going.
‘To save schools money, tackle climate change and generate local jobs, the county council should follow the lead of Bradford, Plymouth and Southampton councils by promoting the benefits of solar power and investing in solar schemes for schools.’
The county council said school solar panels will be discussed at the Buildings, Land and Procurement Panel on Tuesday.