Solar energy project at Oatridge College aims to slash energy demand

Oatridge College in West Lothian is to slash its energy demands from the National Grid by 60 per cent and prevent 20 tonnes of carbon from being pumped into the atmosphere every year by commissioning one of Scotland's largest solar power projects.

The land-based college has installed 204 photovoltaic panels worth £140,000 on the roof of its main teaching block to generate 50kW of electricity and a smaller array of solar thermal panels on four residential blocks to provide hot water for students.

Oatridge received support from the Energy Savings Trust to help cover the £60,000 cost of the solar thermal element. The college will save thousands of pounds a year on electricity and will also receive renewable energy grants.

Oatridge was advised on the project by physicist Dr James Hiddinga. The project has taken six months from start to finish, with the contracts going to AES Solar of Forres for the photovoltaic installation and Glendevon Energy of Kinross for the solar thermal work.

Oatridge is running a series of green power courses this month. For details, call Moira Montgomery on 01506 864800 or email mmontgom

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