THE latest 21st century technology is being used to power one of the oldest independent schools in England – thanks to a Lincoln company.
More than 500 solar panels have been installed at 14th century Winchester College by Stow-based Freewatt Renewable Energy.
The £350,000 scheme is due to be completed in February and will provide the college with enough electricity to power 35 homes for a full year.
The establishment, founded by the Bishop of Winchester and chancellor to Edward III, still uses many of its original medieval buildings. The College maintains nine Grade I, four Grade II* and eighty Grade II listed buildings including many considered to be of national importance.
Freewatt was called in by the College to complete an in-depth report on the energy use of the entire estate before embarking on the installation of several separate schemes across the campus.
The first half of the project included fitting panels on the Grade II* listed classrooms.
Now the company is putting the finishing touches to 65kWp of panels on the PE centre and support facilities buildings.
The completed project will generate 103MWh of electricity per year – enough to power 35 UK homes.
Freewatt, set up four years ago, was chosen for the task because of its track record of installing high quality PV on sensitive buildings.
In 2009 Freewatt installed the largest solar PV system on a listed building in the UK and is now recognised by English Heritage as a listed building specialist.
Freewatt Ltd managing director Julian Patrick said: “It’s great to see such an historic college as Winchester invest in the latest green technology.
“It is both exciting and rewarding to work in such surroundings and hopefully our project will be yet another landmark in the long tradition the College has of developing and growing.
“It is also another reminder that solar energy is a sound investment and a viable, sustainable and clean way to provide power for decades to come.”
Works Bursar at Winchester, John Wells, said: “Winchester College has a long and distinguished heritage but is always looking forward. It is important for the future of The College to harness new and reliable technologies and we are pleased to have invested in solar panels.
“Given the historic importance and setting of many of our buildings we had to ensure we worked with the right company. Freewatt provided us with a very professional service and we are delighted in the way the project has been completed.”