THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRTS PUBLISHED ON BBC.COM

The Education Authority (EA) had to rely on financial help from an environmental charity to repair solar panels in 36 schools.

Action Renewables donated £15,000 to the authority for the maintenance work.

BBC News NI understands that was half of the total cost of £30,000 for the repairs.

In a statement, the EA said that it was grateful to the charity for the funding

Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic or PV systems, have been installed at more than 350 schools across Northern Ireland over the past decade.

They generate renewable energy from the sun, transferring it into electricity and reducing energy bills.

Many schools originally received some financial support from government to install the panels and they also earn money for the energy they produce.

They do that through a scheme called Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), which pays them a set amount of money for the electricity they generate.

‘Immense financial strain’

However, solar panels were found to be not working or faulty and needing repair in 36 schools across Northern Ireland.

Action Renewables chief executive, Terry Waugh, said it had offered financial help to the EA to enable that to happen.

“Schools in Northern Ireland are currently under immense financial strain and given that, we are delighted to be able to provide funding towards PV systems repairs,” Mr Waugh said.

“The use of PV systems will provide a reliable energy source for schools, in turn enabling them to become more self-sufficient whilst improving the environment, which is one of our main aims as an organisation.

“These schools are set to see a great amount of return in terms of finance which will hopefully go a long way to helping the schools fund essential activities.”

Action Renewables estimates that now the solar panels are repaired they will generate a total return of £85,000 for the 36 schools involved in one year.

In a statement, the EA said that it had received funding from the charity “to assist with maintenance and repair of solar panels in a number of schools”.

“We are grateful for the funding provided from Action Renewables which allows us to generate electricity on these school sites and continue to reduce our carbon footprint,” it said.

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