In a bid to improve, be more efficient and kinder to the planet, a west Dorset school has had solar panels installed.

When Beaminster School reopens in September with its first full complement of students since March, it will also have in place a brand-new source of electricity for lighting, computers and cooking that will be cheaper from the national grid.

During the summer holidays, Solar Voltaics, contractors for Dorset Community Energy, has installed 112kW of solar panels on five different parts of the school’s roof.

The project, costing around £80,000, is 60 per cent funded by equity shareholders of Dorset Community Energy and 40 per cent by the Low Carbon Fund run by Dorset Council with money from the European Regional Development Fund.

The school will use most of the power from the panels, which is equivalent to the electricity needs of 30 households, with any surplus power at weekends or holidays going back to the grid.

A weblink will enable school staff and students to check the performance of the panels and monitor the school’s electricity use.

A spokesman for Beaminster School said: “The school is absolutely delighted to undertake this project, which was co-ordinated by finance manager, Ms Kellie Poole, and is the first major renewable energy scheme in Beaminster.”