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Solar panels save DMU money and show commitment to a greener future

The green credentials of De Montfort University in Leicester (DMU) have received a huge boost after it was revealed solar panels across the campus saved close to £25,000 in the 12 months after they were installed.

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A total of 500 panels were fitted on the roof tops of three campus buildings – The Faculty of Business and Law’s Hugh Aston Building, the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences’ Edith Murphy Building and The Faculty of Technology’s Gateway House - as part of the university’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and being more sustainable.

They were paid for through DMU’s £136million campus redevelopment budget. Sustainability is one of DMU’s six key aims in its strategic plan, which says the university will make “a significant contribution to global efforts to achieve environmental sustainability”.

A new report from the DMU Estates team has shown that a year on from their installation the impact that the solar panels have had on carbon emissions at DMU has been dramatic – and it was money well spent.

The entire collection of solar panels produced 98,062 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy in their first year of operation – enough to supply an average three bedroom house with electricity for 30 years. It has also offset 48.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide or equivalent greenhouse gases.

The university has received an income from the panels with an electricity provider paying for every unit of electricity generated by the solar panels.

This has resulted in a total financial benefit of £24,342 for DMU when income from the energy provider is combined with the savings made from energy bills.

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It is predicted from the latest figures that over a 20 year period the solar panels will have returned a profit of nearly £400,000 for DMU, while reducing our carbon dioxide output by 1,100 tonnes in the process.

Carl Holland, Energy Officer at DMU and author of the report, said: “De Montfort University is very pleased that the panels have performed as anticipated and have paid back nearly 15 per cent of their total cost in their first year.

“This helps us work towards our target of reducing emissions by 43% by 2020 compared to where we were in 2005.”

Further sites on campus are being considered for future solar panel installations as DMU continues to be a leader in the field of sustainable development and carbon reduction.

The current solar panels came with 25 year warranties and are self-cleaning, meaning they require minimum maintenance.

Posted on Thursday 16th April 2015

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