A GROUNDBREAKING project which would see a school powered by a solar farm has been unveiled in Barry.

The 25-year contract - which is thought to be the first-of-its-kind in Europe - will see St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School receive a supply of electricity from a solar farm opposite the site.

German-based energy firm Conergy will take over maintenance of the site.

The scheme will see the school receive a supply of electricity through a direct electrical feed from the farm.

Stephen Lord, the school's deputy headteacher, said there were multiple advantages to the project.

"The first benefit will be for our pupils to be taught the benefits of sustainable development and low carbon footprints," he said.

"They won't just be reading about these things anymore but will be experiencing it.

"Using a solar farm brings the theories alive.

"The second benefit is, of course, being able to save significant costs and then redirect funding to continue to provide a first class education for all."

The farm, which is adjacent to the school, will also save the school £28,000 in annual costs, it has been estimated.

At the unveiling of the solar farm on Friday, Vale AM Jane Hutt described it as "wonderful news for all".

"There are many benefits to this project and not just educational ones," she said.

"All of this fits into the Welsh Government's aim of low carbon emissions in Wales.

"I hope that rural schools will see the benefit and follow St Richard Gwyn School's lead.

"The solar farm isn't just good news for Barry and the UK but also for Europe."

David Waters, the site manager of the solar farm, who also attended the unveiling, said the benefits would be "huge".

"The school will experience massive benefits from this project," he added.

"It will help alleviate electrical bills and will, on the whole, be good news for the school."