Generation Green to install up to 150 free solar panel systems this year

Generation Green to install up to 150 free solar panel systems this year

Generation Green to install up to 150 free solar panel systems this year


This year Generation Green is installing 150 free solar panel systems which will help schools generate their own, free electricity- and also to help schools meet their carbon reduction targets

We are currently working on a similar scheme for next year with the details to be announced soon. If you wish to be notified when the new scheme launches then please send your name, school name and address to us at We will add you to the list of interested schools for next years scheme

if you've applied for solar panels and what to check the status of your application you can email us at or call us on 0800 980 9038

What is the initiative?
British Gas is running a scheme to install up to 150 free solar panel systems in primary and secondary schools and sixth form colleges that are located in England, Scotland and Wales.

  • The Solar Panels will not only generate electricity for the schools but also help cut their carbon footprint. The money generated will then be used to install more solar panels in more schools.

    To enter the scheme, send us an email with your contact details on to or call 0800 980 9038. We will then get back in touch to let you know how to apply.

    What is the award?

    Each successful school will get:

    • 1 Solar Photovoltaic Panel system (worth between £20,000 and £160,000 per School) and installation;
    • 1 Solar Panel Display Unit.

    How large and heavy are these PV systems?

    The following are indicative and for guidance ONLY, more detailed survey examinations will be necessary and may rule-out a school:

    ~kW (peak) Panels (Qty. & Type) Area m2 Panels on Sloped Roof (15 Kg/m2) Kg Total Panels on Flat Roof Add'l Kg weight on roof (2 possible systems 25 Kg/m2 or 125 Kg/m2) **
    4 22 32 450 750 or 3,750
    10 42 64 1,050 1,750 or 8,750
    20 86 140 2,100 3,500 or 17,500
    30 130 215 3,225 5,375 or 26,875
    40 172 285 4,275 7,125 or 35,625
    50 216 355 5,325 8,875 or 44,375

    ** The greater cost of the lighter system means that a lesser kWp system may need to be installed. Also, the greater cost of 'Solion' means that a lesser kWp system may need to be installed.

    How much will this cost the schools who apply?
    Nothing. The installation will be free, all schools need to do is apply, which involves answering some questions and signing a Contract.

    Who is paying for the installation of the solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in so many schools?
    The British Gas Energy For Tomorrow Fund has committed to spending £6m on the installation of solar panels for phase 3.

    What is the British Gas Energy for Tomorrow Fund?
    This is an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to developing renewable energy sources and technologies for the future.  The fund receives a contribution for each customer signed up under certified green tariffs such as Sustainable Energy.

    Why are British Gas doing this?
    Britain's declining gas and oil reserves and our increased reliance on imports is well known.  Renewable energy and micro-generation is making an increasingly important contribution in both energy generation and tackling climate change. We want to showcase this technology and engage more closely with the local communities and schools to show how we can meet Britain's future energy challenges. British Gas is specifically committed to supporting energy efficiency and renewable projects with schools.

    Will maintenance of the solar panels be covered in the future by British Gas?
    British Gas will be responsible for repairing/replacing invertors in the event of breakdown and for periodical inspections, at its sole discretion, for 20 years following installation of the panels. All solar panels have a 25 year performance warranty, meaning that the manufacturer has guaranteed that they will be running at 80% efficiency after 25 years of service. The panels should not require much ongoing maintenance since there are no moving parts and components are designed to withstand environmental conditions.

    When inspection or ad-hoc maintenance is required, we will need to liaise with you to discuss access requirements and any costs (which the Energy For Tomorrow Fund will cover). We will not cover maintenance costs for irresponsible behaviour or vandalism.

    What is the value of the solar panels you are installing in the successful schools?
    Each school that is selected as successful and is assessed as suitable for solar panels by British Gas, following a technical site survey, will have a solar PV system installed that is worth between £20,000 and £160,000. The specification, size and type of system installed will be decided by British Gas.

    *How much will the successful schools save from having solar panels?
    How much your school will save will depend on how much electricity the solar panels generate, how much generated electricity your school uses directly and how much your school pays for the electricity it buys from its energy supplier. For example, a 3.96kWp system might generate 3,639 kWh electricity per annum. Which would be a saving of 1,925kg of CO2 and £273 in Energy Cost Savings. You are likely to save more with a larger system and if you directly use more of the electricity generated. (The above assumption is based on using 75% of electricity produced. Carbon saving based on SAP 2009. Roof pitch at 30 degrees.).

    Will successful schools receive anything else as well as the solar panels?
    As well as the solar panels, successful schools will also get a solar output display unit which will record how much electricity the solar panels generate. These will provide each school with real time data on their energy consumption and enable pupils and teachers to monitor how different behaviour patterns can help save energy and money.

    How long do solar panels usually last for?
    Solar panels installed 30–40 years ago could still be generating electricity today. The typical warranty provided by the manufacturer guarantees that the panel system will still operate at 80% of its efficiency after 25 years.

    Does the school have to have British Gas as its energy supplier?
    Schools do not have to be or become a customer of British Gas to be eligible.

    Will British Gas be providing any education resources or support to help the school engage children, staff and parents?
    The Generation Green programme provides lesson resources that assist teachers with explaining the solar panels to pupils. These resources cover age groups from 4-18 years, in line with the Generation Green programme.

    In order to receive these resources, the school will need to be registered with Generation Green at

    What is the Generation Green programme?
    The Generation Green programme is British Gas' education programme, teaching children about sustainability, inspiring a nation of energy innovators and providing Energy Makeovers for schools across Britain.  We provide free lesson resources for registered teachers, designed to help them teach children aged 4-14 years.

    Do I need to sign up for the Generation Green programme to be eligible?
    You do not need to sign up for the programme to be eligible for the free Solar offer, but you will not have access to the lesson resources and other information unless you do. Signing up to Generation Green is free.

    How does solar PhotoVoltaic (PV) work?
    Solar PhotoVoltaic (PV) cells are panels you can attach to your roof or walls. Each cell is made from one or two layers of semi conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine and lower the cloud coverage, the more electricity the panels can produce.

  • Eligibility

    Who is eligible?
    Primary schools, Secondary schools and Sixth Form colleges on the mainland in England, Scotland and Wales are eligible. Unfortunately nurseries and universities are not eligible. Please note, schools on any island surrounding England, Scotland and Wales are also not eligible.

    Is this opportunity open to schools in Northern Ireland?
    Regrettably not. This opportunity is open to schools in Scotland, Wales and England only.

    My school already has solar panels, or another form or micro-generation. Is it still eligible?
    All schools which currently have a form of micro-generation such as solar panels are eligible.

    My school is in the process of being built/re-built. Is it still eligible?
    Unfortunately we are only able to take applications from schools which have been fully operational for over 1 calendar month. This is due to the fact that the school must demonstrate how they involve the whole community in becoming more sustainable.

  • Application process

    How do I apply?
    To be eligible to you need to send us an email to with the school's contact details on. We will then get back in touch to inform you of next steps.

    Will there be multiple opportunities to apply for solar panels?
    We plan to run a series of schemes to find more schools that are eligible for solar panels. Don't worry if your school is unable to participate in this scheme, there should be more opportunities for your school in the years to come.

    What are the technical issues that could rule my school out of receiving solar panels?
    If you submit a signed Contract and pass a preliminary survey, we will arrange to visit your school to carry out a technical site survey to check your school's suitability for solar panels.

    Ideally your roof would be south-facing, in order to maximise the potential of your panels. If a suitable roof does not exist, we will complete a desktop feasibility study and make a judgement based on your individual circumstances. We require enough clear roof area to fit at least a 4kWp set of solar panels. A 4kWp system typically requires 32m2 of roof space; a 10KWp system typically requires 64m2. Preference will be given to schools with an unbroken & uniform surface to enable one of these outputs; flat roofs are less likely to be successful.

    Other issues that could affect the suitability of your school include:

    • unsuitable roof structure
    • roof unable to take the weight of solar panels
    • asbestos
    • health and safety risks
    • unsafe electrical system that does not meet industry standards
    • planning permission not being granted
  • Judging process

    How will the application be assessed?
    This year's scheme is 'first-come-first-served'; firstly receipt of a signed Contract, then a successful 2-stage survey.

    Can I receive feedback on why my application wasn't successful?
    Due to the number of applications, feedback may be limited and it is unlikely that we will be able to respond to subsequent queries regarding your application. The decision, in all matters under its control, is final and binding.

  • Installation

    Who will be my contact for the entire process?
    Once you have applied for the scheme via we will get in touch to discuss the next steps. We will then provide you with further contact details should you need to get in touch.

    What is the ideal building for solar panels?
    The building will need to have a good sized SE to SW facing roof that is not in the shade at any time in the day. The building needs to be part of a metered electricity supply and an electrical circuit that is in good condition. Access to install is required (normally via scaffolding).

    Will I need planning permission to install solar panels?
    It is almost certain that your school will require some form of planning consent from your local authority. British Gas Solar will submit a planning application on your behalf and request that you start locating any technical drawings that may be available for the school to speed up the planning process. It is quite normal for the planning process to take around 12 working weeks but it could take significantly longer.

    When will British Gas be fitting the solar panels in the school? Will it disrupt any classes?
    To help ensure that we can fit all successful schools with solar panels in a timely manner, we will need to be able to fit the panels during both term time and school holidays.  Due to health and safety, during any installation of solar panels no person must be present in any room directly below the roof we are working on. This may mean that one of the classrooms, a corridor or a school hall may be affected by disruption for approximately 5 business days. We will agree this with the school in advance to minimise disruption to schools and its pupils. We will not complete any work during weekends or public holidays.

    Are Installers CRB checked?
    All our installers are CRB checked.

  • Feed-in Tariff (Clean Energy Cashback) arrangement

    What is the Feed-in Tariff?
    The Feed-in Tariff (also known as Clean Energy Cashback) is a Government measure which provides a regular payment to energy users for renewable electricity that they generate and either use themselves or export to the National Grid. The tariffs have been introduced from April 2010 to encourage the installation of small-scale renewable technologies in the UK.

    Who gets the Feed-in Tariff?
    The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) will be assigned to the British Gas Energy For Tomorrow fund which is paying for the installation for the purposes of this scheme. This is an independently run, non-profit organisation dedicated to developing renewable energy sources and technologies for the future (see above). Your school will benefit from being able to use the electricity generated which could mean electricity and carbon savings as a result of needing to buy less electricity from its energy supplier.

    How are the Feed-in Tariff payments calculated?
    Each solar panel system will be installed with a Smart meter and a solar output display unit which will measure the amount of electricity generated by your school's panels. The meter may be either read manually or some may have a remote communication device that can send meter readings directly to your electricity provider.

  • Timescales

    What are the timescales for the scheme?
    The scheme will go live in January until 10:00am on April 30th 2013

    Roughly how long after confirming success and suitability will installation be completed?
    We aim to have completed the installation of each school's solar panels within 12 months of their written confirmation of a satisfactory technical site survey. If there are any unforeseen issues or delays with planning permission applications or with the installation itself, this will affect the length of time it may take us to complete the installation.

    How long does it take for solar panels to be fitted to the roof?
    It will take our installers roughly 5 working days to complete the installation of the panels. In addition, we will need to complete a site visit that will take approximately 1 working day.

    Please contact us if your question has not been answered.