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Ofgem Tours Reading University

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The latest addition to the array of solar panels on the University of Reading’s campuses was the focus of a visit by the CEO and Chair of the Government energy regulator, Ofgem.

Ofgem visit Reading University

Chief Executive Jonathan Brearley and Chair Mark McAllister were given a tour of some decarbonisation technology on Whiteknights campus as well as sitting down with the University’s Sustainability team to discuss progress the University and wider Reading area has made on reducing its carbon footprint in recent years.

The visit, organised in collaboration with community energy scheme Reading Community Energy Society (RCES) and Reading Borough Council, took in the 180 new solar panels on the roof of the recently-opened new Art building, as well as the nearby Energy Centre, which is also the subject of decarbonisation work.

Dan Fernbank, Energy and Sustainability Director at the University of Reading, said: “We were pleased to host a productive meeting with Ofgem’s senior leadership, alongside Reading Community Energy Society and Reading Borough Council.

“We discussed the role of community energy in delivering local, low carbon energy supplies, and the barriers and practical opportunities for change that exist in the regulatory framework which Ofgem oversee.”

Art solar panels 

The Art solar panel installation was part of the project to relocate the School of Art from Earley Gate to central Whiteknights. It has delivered new studios, workshops and gallery space in the redeveloped former central kitchen building.

Decarbonisation projects are also part of long-term strategic work to make the University’s campuses fit for the future.

The solar panels on the roof of the Art building brought the total number of panels on University of Reading campuses to 3,805. When working at full capacity, the panels on the Art building generate enough electricity every hour to power a typical UK home for nine days.

The Art panels were delivered through the RCES cooperative shareholder scheme, which allows people in Reading and surrounding areas to collectively invest funds to install solar panels and receive a share of profits made on the energy generated.

The Art building installation was the Society’s 23rd and largest installation since forming in 2016. Shares recently went on sale to raise £97,000 to fund the project.

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