Action on Carbon and Energy in Schools (ACES)

Interest-free loan

Available for County-maintained schools

From 15 January 2024, Oxfordshire County maintained schools can apply for up to £70,000 to finance the installation of:

  • LED lighting and/or
  • Solar PV panels

We understand that each school has its unique energy requirements, which is why we offer the flexibility to choose either LED lighting or solar PV, or both, based on your specific needs and priorities. 

The deadline for applications is Thursday, 28 March although it will close sooner if oversubscribed. Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received.

Improving the energy efficiency of your school buildings not only demonstrates leadership in your community on taking action on climate change, but will help reduce energy usage and could help cut down on operational costs.

To receive the application pack for the loan scheme, please send us an email on:


How much energy do LEDs save?

LEDs use at least 75% less energy than incandescent lights.

How long do LEDs last for?

LEDs can last up to 25 x longer than incandescent lights.

According to Energy Saving Trust, a traditional halogen bulb lasts around two years, based on three hours’ daily use, around 2,000 hours. An LED under similar conditions lasts 10,000 hours upwards, for 10 years or longer.

Will LEDs save the school money?

According to Energy Saving Trust, in the UK, lighting accounts for 15% of a typical household’s electricity bill.

You can save £2-3 per year for every traditional halogen bulb you switch to a similarly bright LED bulb (see our table below for more).

If the average UK household replaced all of their bulbs with LEDs, it would cost about £100 and save about £40 a year on bills.

Replacing a 50W halogen with an LED equivalent could cut your energy costs by £75 over the lifetime of the bulb – not including the price all the replacement halogen bulbs you no longer need to buy;  of a typical LED costs between £2.50-12.

How much space is needed for a solar PV system?

Space is a key consideration. The average system size is around 3.5kWp and this will typically take up around 20m2 roof area.

An unshaded, South facing roof is ideal for maximum electrical output. East or West facing roofs could still be considered, but North facing roofs are not recommended. A system facing East or West will yield around 15-20% less energy than one facing directly South. (source: Energy Saving Trust)

Are permissions needed to install a solar PV system?

Solar PV panels are often considered ‘permitted developments’ and often don’t require planning permission. However, exceptions apply especially if the school is a listed building or within a conservation area. (source: Energy Saving Trust)

As part of the loan application process, school’s will need to contact their local planning authority to confirm whether or not planning permission is required and provide evidence to OCC.

Will installing solar PV be disruptive?

Among those who had solar PV panels fitted in the past 10 years, 94% of people say that getting a solar PV system wasn’t disruptive (Which?).

Having the installation completed outside of term time can also help remove any disruption.

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