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£26m loan scheme to accelerate new zero plans

Net zero image collage

14 Aug 2023

A programme of low interest loans totalling up to £26 million is being made available to universities for the current financial year.

The programme is designed to advance Scottish universities’ carbon management and net zero plans and to be consistent with the pathways to net zero set out by the Scottish Government.

Expressions of interest are being invited from 11 September 2023 until 3 November 2023 after which proposals will be assessed and a selection made by the end of the year.

The following case study showcases SFC-backed developments to meet net zero targets.

Solar Photovoltaic Development at Eden Campus – St Andrews University

The Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Development at Eden Campus is part of ambitious plans by the University of St Andrews to meet net zero targets, contribute to a just transition from fossil fuels, and take a leading role in driving a successful local and national economy.

The one-megawatt ground solar photovoltaic (PV) development – backed by the Scottish Funding Council and supported by the Vacant & Derelict Land Fund from the Scottish Government and Fife Council – will provide electricity to the campus. This move further reduces the University’s overall carbon footprint by approximately 5%. This is the equivalent of 11 tons of carbon dioxide per year. A real time performance system has been installed and daily outputs and carbon savings are recorded.

With a planned extension of its district heating network – which already pipes hot water from its award-winning £25 million biomass plant to 48 University buildings and 3,000 student rooms in St Andrews – and the solar farm, the expectation is that the Eden Campus will be a carbon-neutral working environment within the next five years.

In addition to providing power to Walter Bower House and other buildings on the campus, the electrical supply will be utilised by electric vehicle charging points and the installation of battery storage.

The ground solar project now provides electricity to Eden Campus, supporting the existing biomass district heating facility at the Campus. Further rooftop solar panels are currently being installed in a new dry laboratory on the Campus and a second phase of rooftop solar panels are planned for next year on Eden Mill’s distillery and the University’s energy centre.