Portsmouth City Council scoops top award for schools' solar panel scheme

Children at  Chichester's Lancastrian Infants School celebrate their new solar panels provided by Portsmouth City Council through a partnership with West Sussex County Council. Photo: Darren Cool
Children at Chichester's Lancastrian Infants School celebrate their new solar panels provided by Portsmouth City Council through a partnership with West Sussex County Council. Photo: Darren Cool
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A COUNCIL has scooped a top gong at a national awards ceremony for its commitment to solar power.

Portsmouth City Council topped the list at the national Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (Adept) president’s awards.

Paulsgrove Carnival - Cllr Steve Pitt organised the music stage'Picture: Vernon Nash (180394-005)

Paulsgrove Carnival - Cllr Steve Pitt organised the music stage'Picture: Vernon Nash (180394-005)

It came following work by the city authority to assist neighbours West Sussex County Council in delivering a major solar panel scheme.

The huge initiative, known as the Solar Power for Schools Programme, saw dozens of schools across Sussex being fitted with the cash-saving devices.

The partnership led Portsmouth to victory in the ‘delivering clean growth category’ during the prestigious Adept awards do.

Councillor Steve Pitt, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, was delighted by the news.

He said: ‘The programme is truly ambitious in its scale and impact on the climate and the increasingly high energy bills paid by schools.’

‘The partnership between the two councils shows local authorities at their best, each bringing something valuable to the table with great results.

The scheme has equipped 80 schools with solar photovoltaic panels ranging from providing 15 to 250 kilowatts that help reduce energy bills by £2,000 and carbon emissions by 1,300 tonnes.

Portsmouth’s awards success came just months after the authority was crowned ‘council of the year’ for energy efficiency at the South East Region Energy Efficiency Awards.

Deborah Urquhart, the West Sussex County Council cabinet member for the environment, was pleased by Portsmouth’s support.

She added: ‘The solar panels will deliver environmental and financial benefits for many years to come, and, in the case of some of the larger installations, enable schools to meet one hundred percent of their energy demand on sunny days.’

Last year Portsmouth was hailed as a leading city in renewable energy, despite claims it could do more to be green.

A report from the Solar Trade Association named the city council as one of the UK’s pioneers in solar energy.

It came after the authority’s project to install 300 rooftop solar panels on buildings such as offices and schools.

This month the council announced it had installed fuel cells and other energy-saving measures to five sheltered housing blocks that had already been fitted with solar panels.