Solar school: Hartlepool primary wins £40,000 for green energy project

Paul Hewitson  from Hartlepool CIC with West Park Primary school pupils and "Solar Gang" members with one of the solar panels that will be installed at the school. Picture by FRANK REID
Paul Hewitson from Hartlepool CIC with West Park Primary school pupils and "Solar Gang" members with one of the solar panels that will be installed at the school. Picture by FRANK REID

A Hartlepool primary school can look forward to a bright future after winning £40,000 of energy-saving solar equipment.

West Park Primary School, in Coniscliffe Road, topped a public vote in this year’s M&S Community Energy competition.

Paul Hewitson  from Hartlepool CIC with West Park Primary school pupils and "Solar Gang" members with one of the solar panels that will be installed at the school. Picture by FRANK REID

Paul Hewitson from Hartlepool CIC with West Park Primary school pupils and "Solar Gang" members with one of the solar panels that will be installed at the school. Picture by FRANK REID

The school will get a professionally installed solar installation covering the school roof which will generate electricity for at least the next 25 years.

It will be fitted with 150 stat-of-the-art solar panels on the roof providing free power for eight months of the year.

The application was put together on behalf of the school by renewable energy community interest company Hartlepower.

Director Paul Hewitson, is also on the Friends of West Park Primary School group.

He said: “It is hugely significant in terms of energy saving for the school. All energy between the hours of 9am and 3pm between February and October will essentially be free.

“It is a big installation, we have not got anything like this in the town.

“If kids from as young as four can understand how the panels work I think it can only be a good thing for the town.

“West Park is also ready an Eco School so to get this solar installation is the cherry on the cake and really tops off what they have been trying to achieve with the Eco Schools Programme over the last five years.”

West Park came top of he online public vote, beating big cities like Manchester, after a big push from parents on social media.

The school got 1,523 votes making it a clear winner over second place with 948.

The M&S Community Energy Fund was open to any not for profit organisation that wanted to use renewable energy to provide community benefits.

In an email to Paul confirming West Park’s win the organisers said: “We are all very impressed with the level of community engagement your project has demonstrated and look forward to seeing the impact of our funding.”