Above visited Nayland primary school last week to carry out a complimentary aerial inspection of their 15.5KW roof-mounted solar system. The system has been generating clean energy for eight years now, thanks to the UK’s first community cooperatively owned solar generator, Green Energy Nayland. A community enterprise that aims to bring renewable energy to the local area, Green Energy Nayland started its journey in 2011 with Above’s CEO Will Hitchcock and Technology Manager Simon Gilhooly at the heart of the project. The initiative has been very successful in increasing the use of renewable energy sources through community ownership nationally. The installation is an important educational resource for the school alongside its financial and environmental benefits.
Above are a local company that inspect solar farms around the world using drones. The advanced drone platforms follow a predefined flight path across thousands of solar panels that make up a solar farm. Capturing both thermal and 4K visual imagery, the camera identifies heat anomalies that are recorded and categorised by data analysts. The data is presented through a cloud-based reporting platform that gives the client a comprehensive overview of their solar asset’s health.
This term, pupils have been learning about the environment, making our visit a great opportunity to talk about the solar panels that help power the school. A few members of the Above team attended, including CEO Will Hitchcock and Pilot Dave Eggleton. The visit began with an introduction to the solar installation project and how the solar panels harness the sun’s energy.
The children were very proud of their solar panels and the environmental benefits they bring to the school. Will Hitchcock also gave an informative show and tell highlighting the drone’s incredible ability to fly with precision, perfect for hard to reach areas such as the high roof. Will showed the group a pyranometer, explaining how the device accurately measures solar irradiance. The pupils excitedly watched Pilot Dave fly the drone high above the school to inspect the panels, safely landing the drone back down to the ground.
It was inspiring to see children aware of their environmental impact, displaying enthusiasm towards recycling and actively engaging with the global climate mission. The school has a great recycling system, managed by an eager team of eco students. Earlier in the year, pupils requested that the school switched its milk delivery from plastic bottles to glass bottles, saving thousands of plastic bottles from going to waste each year.
Green Energy Nayland save a portion of the income from the solar installation for environmentally focused community and educational projects. Using this funding, Headteacher Reagan Delaney introduced a special competition to the pupils, the theme of the competition is helping the environment. The children have been asked to propose an idea that will have environmental benefits such as a wild garden or a way to reduce water consumption. The children can work individually or collaborate in a group to find ways in which they can reduce the carbon footprint of the school. Green Energy Nayland will choose one or two projects proposed by the pupils, funded by the school’s solar installation. We would like to say thank you to the school for a successful educational visit enjoyed by all those involved, we look forward to seeing the ideas that the students put forward.