Installing solar panels at my kids’ school the easy way – 5 things I learned by doing it

Friends of the Earth's Adam Bradbury discusses installing solar panels at his kids’ school the easy way and the 5 things he learned by doing it.

I didn’t get up on the roof, shake a fundraising tin or (completely) overthrow capitalism. Here’s what I did find out about getting solar panels on my kids' primary school.

1. It’s not that hard

We’re not talking about stealing the secret of fire here. OK, it took a little time and a few meetings. But I didn’t do much more than raise the idea with governors and the head teacher, and ask a few questions along the way.

Today Hanover primary school in north London is feeding electricity into the grid and reaping the benefits. And I am unscarred.

So if you’re expecting to make Promethean sacrifices, you might be disappointed.

2. You’re not alone

I quickly found there were plenty of other people in the school family with nous and enthusiasm where I had none – for budgets, planning, design, fixing things to roofs, running a school. You don’t have to know or do everything yourself.

And since we started, back in 2009, the world has moved on – costs have come down, loads of schools are doing it, knowledge is spreading. You can get quite a bit of nous from Friends of the Earth’s Run on Sun info pac:

3. It helps if the governors get it

The school was in line for a refurbishment with government money. The governing body decided they wanted the building to be carbon neutral. This got us over a few bumps in the road – such as a Grade II listing that meant we couldn’t put solar panels on the roof. Instead they went on the south-facing wall of a new sports hall – a vertical solar farm.

When I first floated the idea of solar power for Hanover I suggested it would lower energy bills and give the kids something to work with in with science and maths. These days, governors might also be open to the potential financial benefits – up to £8,000 a year to spend on books or trips.

4. The council could be your friend

Islington Council, the ultimate client for the refurbishment, had ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions in the borough. It worked with Hanover to make sure the capital building budget would cover the solar installation.

Things will be different in different boroughs but if your council is on your side the sun might be too.

5. They work

Solar panels have actually been around longer than teddy bears. They’re a reliable and well-tested technology.

Today a bright LED display in the lobby tells us that in less than 2 years Hanover has made enough electricity to print 13 million sheets of paper (a few more than the school will ever need).

And it’s saved more than 5 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

I sometimes wonder what all the fuss was about. Then I remember there wasn’t much. Ask the children what they think about the panels shimmering over their heads in the playground and they tend to shrug - as if it's the most natural thing in the world. "It's where we get our electricity," says one.

If you're thinking of giving it a go, check out Friends of the Earth's Run on Sun campaign first:
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Wind turbines
Building the Future

Assembling these giant wind turbines looks like working with an Erector Set on steroids. The people working on these things make it look so easy.

#energy #windturbinetowers #windturbine #windpower #renewableenergy #windfarms  
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Ted Rees

Green, climate change, and bio-environmental impact  - 
A super great mass extinction may have been started:

A 50Gton "possible at any time" methane release from the arctic.  Such a release over a few year time frame would increase methane in the atmosphere by about 10X.

 Because methane is entering saturation, and the IPCC says the sensitivity is best approximated by a square root function, I believe it means that the warming due to such a sudden increase in methane would be about 3X the current methane forcing - which is about 1/3 that of CO2.  

So, it would about double the greenhouse forcing world wide, which would double the rate at which the earth is heating up. It would still take a long time for the earth's temperature to change, and since methane changes to CO2 over time, it means in the long term that the excess methane vanishes, and is replaced by a 17% increase in CO2 pushing the CO2 concentration to about 470ppm. 

With a 9 year half life for methane, it would only take about 30 years for the methane concentration to return to where it is now and the CO2 concentration to jump to 470ppm.

  It is a very bad scenerio, because I view the whole situation more like a big slow fire. First we heat the arctic. Then the ice melts, and the temperature rises quickly, and methane is released.  Methane release works it's way down to lower lattitudes.

 Weather changes, and the drought conditions ensue. Trees dry up, and massive forest fires consume the Pacific Northwest and Siberia, or any where else where drought conditions meet prior forests. 

 More CO2 is released, and less vegetation is there to absorb it. CO2 levels go above 1000 ppm.  The increasing hot conditions lead eventually to even the tropical forests going up in smoke.

 I'm afraid that this is exactly what happened in the Permian-Triasic great extinction that resulted in dead zones between the tropic of capricorn and the tropic of cancer. Alligators moved to the Arctic. 

 The CO2 concentrations do not go down for hundreds of thousands of years. We're talking about another mass extinction similar to the Permian-Triasic.

   This is a very real possibility.  I think everyone in the world needs to drop whatever they are doing, and immediately try to reverse this trend. Once the 'fire' starts, we may be powerless to prevent it from burning to the end. No more gasoline. No more natural gas. No more coal. Rebuild all buildings for less energy use. Massively increase renewable energy.  Massively put in water desalination. Massively increase a return to more vegetation. 
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Discussion about the community  - 
The Microhydro system
Rushabh Furia's profile photo
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Solar project by engineering students
Solar Powered Projects for Engineering Students - 2014 are available in the post:
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This innovative design turns an existing house into a sustainable net-zero home with passive and active solar energy. 
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#Solarfarm - Hope Of The Energy Crisis
Earth derives its energy from the sun but not efficiently enough. Following the Japan and Singapore model, now #India is building a floating solar farm to solve its #energycrisis.

Explore creative solutions to alarming energy crisis at Intellects
Solar farms need three things: sunlight, photovoltaic panels and a huge expanse of land. It's the third in that list that's hampering green efforts in
kia flow's profile photoRushabh Furia's profile photo
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Solar panel array technology.
This innovative solar panel array technology promises rapid deployment for energy production in off-grid or disaster prone locations.

Are we there yet?

This remote ‘mobile-solar-powered generator’ runs on high power photovoltaic panels that extend from its container combined with an easy to set up wind turbine.

Read More:

#remoteworking #solarpanels #solarpower #ecosphere #offgridsolar #offgridsolarpanels #technology 
A new innovative solar panel array technology designed by Ecos PowerCube provides rapid deployment, and energy production in off-grid locations.
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Ted Rees

General Discussion  - 
The site below will show the monthly solar radiation falling on many US cities. For my location, Mountain View, Cal, it varies from 7.8KWH/day/msq down to 2 KWH/day/msq. I think it means for flat surfaces, not normal to the sun.
Then, I look at my PG&E power bill, and it shows that my peak energy use is 74 therms (2170 KWH(heat)) and 429 KWH(electric), in December and January.
My house is about 2000 square feet, single level, fairly well insulated, and we are conservative users.
Convert to days: 72 KWH(heat)/day and 14 KWH(electric)/day
Divide by 2 KWH/day: 36 square meters(for heat), 7 square meters(for electricity) are required (on an average winter day) @ 100% efficiency.
But, solar PV is only about 16% electrical efficiency. Combined with a heat pump with a 2.5 COP gives 40% thermal efficiency.
So, I would need 90 square meters (967 square feet) of PV for heat, and 44 square meters (474 square feet) for electricity, and some way to smooth the energy out between night and day, between clear skys and cloudy.
With 70cents/W and 6.4 square meter/KW, that is $109/square meter, or $9810 for heat, and $4796 for electricity, just for the panels.
Clearly moving off grid will not be easy!!!
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Green Image Solar LTD to invest in the UK

Green Image Solar LTD, working in solar power and wind power turbines is investing in the UK
in the market of 4kw on grid solar power systems

4kw quote as this is the most popular in the UK as it attracts a higher FIT tariff

The solar project of the company - as a group sell for 35 - 4kw on grid solar power system in 8 cities in the UK

Cities list: London, Cambridge, Oxford, Nottingham,Birmingham,Leeds , Manchester, Liverpool

The project is going to be on all daily UK newspapers with photo of 4kw on grid solar power

To read more news about the project is on on the company´s twitter account
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Created by

About this community

A place for discussing everything about energy with a focus on making more sustainable power available to our world.
TIP 1/3: 14 Awesome Benefits of Animated Environmental Health and Safety Training

It is the company's lawful obligation to trained workers on all workplace safety standards and the risks that their representatives may face while at work.

★ Safety Training ★

(1) Using animation crosses the barrier of combining imagination and skill in education and training.
(2) Interactive learning with live-action animation, video, audio, graphics, feedback, expert advice, and questions & answers keep learners interested and reinforces skills.
(3) Animation programs can represent dangerous events without exposing the workers to the hazards.
(4) Learner can be shown the results of mistakes made in the process or activity.
(5) Real-life experiences are not readily available, but an animated trip in the past brings the learner some feeling of what it must have been like.
(6) Computer animation is capable of presenting true-to-life situations that learners face every day.
(7) All learners learn the same principles and skills – Consistent courses.
(8) Animated program can hold the audiences’ attention by portraying emotional touches and being melodramatic to generate emotional response.
(9) Addressing multi-lingual needs – Animation can be developed in multiple languages to cover audiences of various regions & nationalities.
(10) Training refresher becomes very easy.
(11) Cost and time efficient as it can be shown at ANYTIME and ANYWHERE.
(12) Easy to grasp and register even for non-literate/local work-force because of AUDIO-VISUAL presentation.
(13) Ideal for demonstrating processes which are impossible to observe in reality.
(14) Easily & efficiently distributed among multiple locations as it is digital in nature.

Familiar with other safety training or tricks in Animation? Share them below! :)

♥ If you like this tips feel free to Comment, +1 and Share! 

★ For more tips like this, extra info and detailed screenshots: ★

#animatedmovies    #safetytraining    #safetyvideo   #safetytrainingindia 
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Slobodan Gaborović

Infrastructure / energy use efficiency  - 
Smart Grid and Energy Management Solutions that Drive Energy Efficiency
Enhancements to remote configuration and upgrade of system endpoints. New features significantly reduce the time and cost of deploying field personnel to complete equipment upgrades and reconfigurations.
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Discussion about the community  - 
Solar Street lighting
Rushabh Furia's profile photo
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Sean P. O. MacCath-Moran

General Discussion  - 
Connections With Environmental Concerns

It strikes me that the sentiment expressed by +Diz Missem in the attached conversation reflects the same attitude that people often take towards abusing the land and that this is (at least partially) to blame for why we're presently facing so many huge man-made problems; i.e. they tell themselves that "if people did not [use the environment] then those [resources] would have no reason to exist," and they reason from there that those resources exist to satisfy their immediate needs without regard to the future or to consequences.

What do you think? Is there a crossover to be had here? Does addressing one side of these misconceptions (e.g. the misuse of sentient beings) also address the other side (e.g. the misuse of the environment)?

+Diz Missem: "If people did not eat animals then those animals would have no reason to exist."

Hmm... FWIW, that seems like such a strange notion to me. Do I understand you correctly, +Diz Missem, that animals designated as being for eating only have a value when we eat them?

If so, then to my way of thinking this opens a whole slew of questions. e.g. Did they not have a reason to exist until humans started eating them? If we stopped eating them, would they then be meaningless beings? If a certain species is killed and eaten in one country or culture but it's taboo to do so in another (e.g. as is the case with dogs, cows, cats, pigs, etc.), then where does the being's reason to exist come from in either context?

For myself, I've interacted with and studied animals so much that I've come to have strong certainties about their self-hood, and much like human-animals draw their reason for existing from that well, it's clear to me that non-human-animals are no different in this regard.

At least, that's how I see it -- what do you think?


This post is one in a series in which excerpts of discussions on veganism from other threads are reposted (or paraphrased) for the sake of expanding the conversation. As always, your thoughts and questions are welcome. See the full collection via the #spommveganchats hash (or perhaps with a more robust search, such as ).

(for anyone requiring/desiring more context, the original conversation can be found at )

#vegan #animalrights #spommveganchatsnoreasontoexist
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If tigers stop killing people then we have no more reason to exist. I had never thought of that. That the tigers define our existence by killing some of us. Even us who live in countries where there have never been a tiger outside of a zoo unknowingly define ourselves through tigers.

Wow. That was an eye-opener.
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Sandy Dechert

General Discussion  - 
The Energy and Policy Institute recently gave renewable energy advocates some valuable election tips in a “follow the money” state-by-state look at anti-renewable groups. Among other efforts, EPI released Attacks on Renewable Energy Policy by Fossil Fuel Interests 2013–2014, with the energy politics infomap featured above. The report tears the masks off front groups like ALEC,
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Geothermal project in Costa rica
GREEN 'N' CLEAN! Many of you know that the inspiration for Treeson Spring Water was born on a beach in Costa Rica. We still maintain close ties and will be planting trees there once our bottled spring water hits the market. This is great news for us, Costa Rica and everyone else on the planet as Costa Rica moves toward being carbon neutral by the year 2021. Pura vida!  Costa Rica! Via +CleanTechnica

Join us at +Treeson! 
A geothermal project valued at $958 million US dollars was approved by members of the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly within the last week. Over $600 million of the total will potentially be funded by two sources: the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and European Investment Bank. The Japanese agency will provide $540-560 million, and the European
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Survival Renewable Energy

Infrastructure / energy use efficiency  - 
Energy efficiency is an investment , just as a transmission line or a power plant is, More precisely, it is an investment in reducing KWh...
John McCoy's profile photoEvelyn Tam's profile photo
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Plans for five concentrating solar power (CSP) plants...
... but funding is an issue.

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