Project: Duddingston Solar Project
Technology: 30 kW solar PV
Location: Duddingston Primary School, Edinburgh
CARES funding: Development loan £4,792. Funding was also received from SP Energy Networks Green Economy Fund.
Date installed/ operational: February 2020

Project aims and objectives

Friends of Duddingston Charitable Trust, also known as Friends of Duddingston Primary School, is a charitable trust and was set up to support and improve the life and work of the school. The trust, which is run by parent volunteers and the school’s Headteacher, aims to advance the educational experiences of children attending the primary school and its nursery school.

The trust wanted to reduce the school’s carbon emissions and reduce its energy bills. They applied for a CARES development loan to fund the development of a solar PV installation on its roof.

The extra energy produced is expected to generate approximately £40,000 from the Feed-in Tariff scheme over 20 years. Monies will be used for the benefit of the school and the wider community. An Inclusion Fund has been set up to support all pupils to take part in activities and trips, and there are plans to improve outdoor educational experiences by improving the school grounds.

Outcomes and achievements

The school installed 30 kW of solar PV on its roof in February 2020; these are now operational and generating electricity. The installation followed a local fundraising drive to raise money to install the panels as the trust needed to raise match funding for these costs.

Evelyn Mitchell, chairperson of Friends of Duddingston, said: “We have been amazed at how the school and the wider community have supported the project. We held a Green Day at the school; pupils were sponsored to take part in energy challenges and took part in environmentally themed activities prepared by our very own mini-Gretas. They finished the day with an assembly and speakers from Portobello High’s Eco Committee, a renewable energy engineer, the mini Gretas and a member of the trust.

“Since then, we’ve watched the total raised go up and up! With grants received from Scottish Power’s Green Energy Fund and British Airway’s Carbon Fund, together with the CARES loan, we raised enough money to install the solar panels.”

Isla, a P6 pupil, said: “I’m really happy we are doing something at school that will make an actual difference. I really hope this project inspires others to do similar things.”

Lessons learned

Evelyn said: “It was challenging finding a time that suited the school for the Green Day, so planning [for something similar] well in advance would be recommended.

“We wrote grant applications in December, which is a busy time for lots of people, so we didn’t get as much help to do this as we were hoping for.

“We also learned that getting the pupils involved in the project was vital. For example, the trust had spent quite a lot of time preparing a stall at the school’s Christmas Fair and we raised a reasonable amount. However, when some enthusiastic P6 pupils spoke to the school community about the solar project at the Nativity play, then shook a bucket as the parents were leaving, they raised nearly £400!”