A primary school is hoping to take lessons on living a green lifestyle out of the classroom and into the wider community.

Pupils at Marshgate Primary School hope to inspire the borough to help protect planet following the launch of their solar energy project.

Nearly 40 solar panels have been installed on the Queen’s Road school’s roof - and pupils and staff hope as well as producing electricity they will send an encouraging message to others about reducing their carbon emissions.

The solar panel system will generate 3,802 units of electricity each year to help power lights, computers and other equipment.

It is expected the solar power will cut the school’s carbon dioxide emissions by 1.6 tonnes a year and reduce electricity use by more than 12 per cent.

Visitors to the school will be able to see a digital display with live information showing how much solar energy is being generated every day.

The school is opening its doors to the wider community and bringing in experts to offer energy saving advice. Free energy efficient light bulbs will be given away and visitors will be encouraged to make environmental pledges.

Chris Rollinson, teacher and sustainable schools manager, who led the renewable energy project, said: "Inspiring the children has always been at the heart of this project and this renewable energy technology would not have been installed without the children’s enthusiasm.

"We have elected environmental monitors in every class and Year 4 children have made labels reminding pupils to close the windows and switch off lights, computers and other electrical equipment when they are not being used.

"There are big problems in the world but through this project children can see that they can contribute towards solving them. We will save as much money through our behavioural changes at the school as we will through our solar energy project which shows how everyone can make a change for the better. Our solar panels are a fabulous daily reminder that we can all make a difference to the environment.

"Children need to learn about current issues and this sends out a powerful message."

Pupils were joined by environmentalist Zac Goldsmith today for the project’s launch.

The cost of the project was met by £13,000 from the Government’s Low Carbon Buildings Programme, £9,100 from EDF Energy’s Green Fund and £5,000 was raised by parent teachers’ association through the summer fair.

Peter Thorn, who leads EDF Energy’s Programme for Greener Schools, said: "We are committed to helping schools, nurseries and colleges to install renewable energy technology in their grounds. Young people are really keen to learn about climate change and we are uniquely placed to help them. Investing in renewable energy for schools is one way we can help change future thinking and behaviour around energy generation, use and efficiency. This equipment will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while bringing lessons on climate change to life for young people who have their whole lives ahead of them as energy consumers."