Northern Territory schools set for solar savings

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In December 2018 the Northern Territory (NT) Government announced its $5 million Rooftop Solar Schools program as part of its Roadmap to Renewables Plan, a plan to transition NT to 50% renewable energy by 2030. This week the third round of schools selected to take part in the program were announced as the program moves into its last stage of delivery. 

Overall, 25 schools have been selected as part of the the program, with each expected to save up to 40 per cent of their energy costs. Schools have been selected from across the Territory, including remote schools, and were selected on the basis of their energy usage and needs as well as their innovative science programs. 

This latter requirement may prove an inspired collaboration between the Education and Renewables portfolios of Selena Uibo and Dale Wakefield respectably. Renewables, and especially solar, has enormous potential in the NT. 

Only in the last year, we saw Climate Change think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) and green group Environment Centre NT (ECNT) present a 10 GW Vision for the NT; a vision vindicated only months later in the announcement of the 10 GW Sun Cable Project. The project will generate energy from one sunburnt spot of the NT and pipe it to Singapore to supply the city-state with 20% of its electricity.  

Clearly, renewables, and particularly solar, is a sector for the NT’s future. For schools around the Territory with innovative science programs and inspired students, the opportunity to interact with solar PV may supply the kind of formative experience that will ensure the Territory’s potential is in safe hands. 

NT Minister for Renewables, Energy and Essential Services, Dale Wakefield, reiterated that the $5 million Rooftop Solar in Schools program “is an important part of our Roadmap to Renewables plan, to not only save schools money, but to equip our Territory students with the skills they need to maximise the job opportunities the clean energy sector will bring.” 

“The Territory has an incredible opportunity to become a renewable energy superpower,” continued Wakefield, “securing a stronger economy and more jobs for Territorians.” 

Minister for Education, Selena Uibo, also believes the “significant savings in energy costs” provided by installed solar PV can be redirected “into resources that will enhance learning. Additionally, the solar systems themselves will also enhance learning. Their monitoring and measurement equipment will support innovative school-based science and technology projects, inspiring our next generation of engineers and scientists to advance renewable energy solutions.” 

SCHOOLS CHOSEN FOR THE THREE YEAR ROOFTOP SOLAR PROGRAM

Round 1 – 2018/19

1. Casuarina Senior College 

2. Palmerston Senior College

3. Katherine High School

4. Sanderson Middle School

5. Nhulunbuy High School

6. Centralian Middle School

7. Nightcliff Primary School

8. Tennant Creek High School

9. Berry Springs Primary School

10. Stuart Park Primary School

Round 2 – 2019/20

1. Maningrida College

2. Dripstone Middle School

3. Braitling Primary School

4. Shepherdson College

5. Ngukurr School

6. Centralian Senior College

7. Anula Primary School

8. Ntaria School

Round 3 – 2020/21

1. Angurugu School

2. Gunbalanya School

3. Nhulunbuy Primary School

4. Nightcliff Middle School

5. Yuendumu School

6. Bradshaw Primary School

7. Karama Primary School