Andy Seaman (Energy Manager, left) with Gabriel Wondrausch from Sungift Solar. Image courtesy of Rob Coombe.

New solar installation to cut energy-related carbon

The University of Exeter has taken another step towards reducing its carbon footprint, with the installation of more than 500 solar panels on the Sports Hall roof. The photovoltaic (PV) system is part of the first phase of the University’s 2016-2026 Low Carbon Commitment Implementation Plan, which aims to achieve a 50 % reduction in energy-related carbon emissions by 2026.

The subsidy-free solar installation, installed by South West-based clean energy experts, SunGift Energy, will see a projected 124,929kWh of electricity generated annually for the University, enough to power more than 30 homes a year. Despite having a number of other smaller systems on campus, this new solar array is by far the largest and more than doubles the University’s solar PV capacity.

100% of the energy produced by the PV system is used on-site, helping to maximise the University’s solar consumption, whilst achieving both carbon and financial savings. Since its installation last summer, the PV system has already generated over 40,000kWh of electricity.

This project forms a part of our ambitious carbon reduction targets which were announced in October 2018, and is one of many low carbon projects taking place on campus, including solar PV installations, energy efficient lighting and upgraded insulation.

Andy Seaman said: “To deliver a project of this size we had to partner with a company that understood our needs and could design an array that was tailored for us. This is not a one-size-fits-all solution and to create an installation that will deliver for us long into the future we needed something designed specifically for us. SunGift has provided an excellent start to this journey and are one of the industry partners the Energy Team will be working with over the coming years.

 “The University has taken many steps in recent years to reduce its carbon emissions. We are committed to reducing our environmental impact and rising to this challenge as the University continues to grow. We also value how many small actions make a big difference and will be working closely with our staff and students to empower them to take their own actions to help us reduce our carbon emissions and improve our environmental performance.”

Gabriel Wondrausch, founder and managing director of SunGift Energy says, “We are very excited to be working with the University of Exeter on this project, and we’re looking forward to our continued partnership. As we employ several Exeter alumni, it is good to see their knowledge feeding back into the University in such a positive way. This subsidy-free installation shows that producing your own electricity on-site and when you need it is greatly advantageous, offering both financial returns and sustainability benefits.”

For more information, see our sustainability pages.

Date: 19 March 2019

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