With just 25 students, the Scaddan Primary School now has more solar PV panels than it does pupils after the installations of its 12.9 kw solar system. The installation is part of a 2.1 MW solar rollout at schools across the state.
Partnering with the state-owned Horizon Power, the WA Department of Education plans to install the remaining 29 solar systems over the next 18 months. The Solar Schools Program installation’s lead contractor will be Mechanical Project Services.
Scaddan Primary School’s system is expected to save the school more than $5,000 in power costs next year and about $169,000 over the system’s life. In the region, another 12 schools are set to benefit from the program. Condingup Primary School will be the next cab off the rank with another 12.9 kw system to be installed there this month.
The $5 million Solar Schools Program forms part of the McGowan government’s Covid-19 recovery plan, which has allocated $57.4 million for investment into renewable technology, seizing the opportunity to stimulate the state by building clean energy infrastructure.
Among these projects is the $4 million plan to turn 10 Western Australian schools into smart Virtual Power Plants. In early August, Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community High School was announced as the first participant in the innovative VPP pilot.
“The McGowan Government is working hard to deliver projects, such as Solar Schools, which stimulate the regions’ economies and contribute towards our transition to a low carbon future,” WA’s Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, said in a statement.
It is estimated the Solar Schools Program will deliver, on average, a 27% savings on electricity costs for each school.
“Electricity bills are a significant expense for schools. Through the Solar Schools Program the State Government is helping to maximise the benefits of rooftop solar energy by delivering annual energy savings of approximately $1.7 million,” WA’s Education and Training Minister, Sue Ellery, said in a statement.
“This program will benefit schools and at the same time create new WA jobs.”
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