Pupils from Clyst St Mary Primary School years four and five spent a day learning about energy from the sun and went on a hunt for bugs and wildflowers at a site visit to a proposed new solar park at Shepherd’s Farm on Friday (June 6).
The session was organised by Solstice Renewables who are planning to develop a 7.5 MW solar park at the site, which would generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 2,250 average homes annually.
Ellie Wilkinson, Deputy Headteacher and Head of Science at Clyst St Mary Primary school said: "This is a great learning experience for the children - as well as understanding the importance of solar power they can appreciate the benefits a solar park has on wildlife and insects too."
Lorna Lopes, Educational Consultant for Solstice Renewables, organised a full day of learning activities which she delivered with the school teaching staff. She said: “The children have been filling in a weather diary and a biodiversity study to compare with the potential solar park site.
"In the morning in their classrooms they looked at how much energy they use and learned about how solar electricity can help meet our energy needs.”
Giovanni Maruca, Director, Solstice Renewables, said: “It’s the next generation who will have to deal with the effects of climate change, so it’s important to start talking to kids as early as possible about renewables.
"As we are developing a solar park in the area this gives us a great opportunity to give them an insight into all aspects of a solar development.”
The solar park proposals include funding of £2,000 a year for educational purposes linked with the solar park to benefit local schools. In addition to this a community benefit fund is being established which would pay £7,500 a year for the 25-year lifetime of the solar park.
Solstice Renewables held a public consultation about its plans at the school in February, and will be submitting the planning application to East Devon District Council shortly.