'SoGE is now solar powered!' video

As of the 23 October the School of Geography and the Environment began using the electricity generated from solar panels on the roof of the Oxford University Centre for the Environment.

This move towards renewable energy infrastructure is a further example of the department's commitment to reducing its environmental impact, and fulfills one element of its sustainability plan, which was rewarded with a 'Gold' Green Impact Award earlier this year.

It is hoped that the new solar farm will generate 53MWh of clean electricity a year and save the department approximately £5000 a year on its energy bill. This is equivalent to the electricity needed to run about 13 households* or to run an electric vehicle for 168,000 miles.

"As well as being home to a host of important energy research as part of the Lower Carbon Futures Programme, I am proud to announce that the School is continuing to take practical steps towards a lower carbon future in its day-to-day operations, with our new solar farm."

Professor Heather Viles, Head of School

The installation of the 174 Sunpower 327W panels by Darke and Taylor was coordinated by SoGE Facilities Manager and member of the department's GoGreen team, Alex Black, and was funded by the Environmental Sustainability Team within Estates Services at the University of Oxford.

Alex commented: "Installing solar panels on our roof has been something I have been hoping to achieve since I arrived. Now thanks to generous funding and commitment from the Estates Sustainability Team this has finally happened. All the electricity is fed directly into our building, reducing our demand on the grid and our energy bills.

If anyone has any further ideas for carbon reduction or energy saving around the building, or would like to volunteer to join the department's GoGreen team, your input would be much appreciated."

* This figure is worked using a rounded 4MWh per year for the standard electricity consumption of an average household, based on the latest domestic electricity bill estimates published by BEIS, which outline standard household consumption levels of 3,800kWh for standard electricity and 6,000kWh for E7 with a 50/50 on/off peak split.