Find out how we're aiming to power five per cent of our campus from the largest solar panel installation of any UK university.

Our investment in sustainability

Situated on the edge of the South Downs, a world-recognised biosphere reserve, we are investing £1.5 million in new photovoltaic installation.

This installation will provide almost 5% of the Falmer campus’s electricity needs, in what will be the largest solar project in the UK higher education sector.

Over the next two years we will be looking to replace current energy systems with more sustainable alternatives.

Creating an energy-efficient campus

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Adam Tickell, has set his sights on the institution becoming one of the most energy-efficient universities in the UK within the next 10 years.  

He said: “As a university it is only right that we live by our values and ensure our campus is as green as possible. This is exactly why over the next two years I will be spearheading a programme which aims to significantly reduce the University’s carbon emissions. 

“I am committed to the University looking at a whole-institution approach to carbon reduction and working to ensure this is embedded in everything we do.

“The University of Sussex is home to some of the most eminent sustainability experts. With their knowledge and the passion of our campus community, I want to lead by example and show just how dramatically an institution can reduce its carbon emissions.

"This is an ambitious task, but I believe that all organisations should stand up and be counted on their commitment to the preservation of our planet.”

The largest solar panel project in UK higher education

More than 3,000 solar panels have been switched on across 30 buildings at the University.

The £1.5-million solar project is the largest of its kind in UK higher education. It will provide over three quarters of a million (777,000) kilowatt hours of electricity per year to the campus.

The solar panels will produce enough energy to power the University's library for a year. 

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and the joint leader of the Green Party, switched on the solar panels.

She said: “It was really exciting and a great honour to switch on the biggest solar panel project in UK higher education. To think this is happening right here in Brighton & Hove is fantastic, and is exactly where our city should be. 

“Universities are more than just a group of buildings. They are places of innovation and aspiration and have to inspire people into believing they can make a difference. 

“This initiative is hugely welcome and needs to be as bold as possible. Congratulations to everyone involved in making this happen.” 

A student and member of staff who won an internal competition were also invited to join the MP at the solar switch on. 

Anna Watson, a PhD student in energy innovation, said: “I’m proud to see Sussex leading the way in driving low-carbon innovation.” 

Anna was joined by Jolyon Western, a Student Life Advisor, who said: “I have solar water and solar electric panels on my own home and welcome Sussex’s decision to participate further in the vital transition to renewables.” 

See the energy being produced by our solar panels live

Other projects

The solar project is the first key milestone in Sussex’s environmental initiative. 

We will also:

  • replace 27,000 light bulbs with more efficient LED lights
  • upgrade energy systems
  • install smart meters across campus
  • improve heating and cooling systems – working more in harmony with weather conditions and switching equipment off where possible.

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