SOLAR panels are set to help pupils shine in the classroom as two Bury schools prepare to power their buildings with the eco-friendly technology.

Castlebrook High School and Our Lady of Lourdes RC Primary School are among the first in the country to benefit from The Co-operative Group's £1m national Green Energy for Schools scheme, which will provide free solar panels to 100 schools.

The rooftop panels, worth more than £20,000, will generate renewable electricity to reduce the schools' fossil fuel usage and highlight the issue of climate change.

A monitor screen in the schools' buildings will display how much energy the panels are generating and how much carbon dioxide they will have saved.

Donna Kiernan, headteacher of Our Lady of Lourdes in Purbeck Drive, said: "The solar panels will really help with our efforts to reduce the school's carbon footprint."

Tony Roberts, headteacher of Castlebrook high in Parr Lane, Unsworth, said: "Schools have a vital role to play in educating the next generation about climate change and using this renewable energy technology will help us to really bring that message home to pupils, parents and staff."

The Co-operative group says it purchases nearly all its electricity form renewable sources.

Eileen Gaffney, manager of the Co-operative food store in Ainsworth Road, Bury, said: "As a community retailer with strong green credentials, it is appropriate that we are helping our local schools reduce their carbon footprint in this way.

"As well as reducing the school's carbon dioxide emissions and cutting their electricity bills by generating renewable energy, the rooftop solar panels will serve as a prominent reminder to the whole community of the urgent need to tackle climate change."