Broome Senior High School is now home to the largest rooftop solar system installed under the state government’s $9.6 million Solar Schools Program with regional energy provider Horizon Power confirming the switch has been flicked on the 274.45 kW rooftop system.
Delivered by Horizon in conjunction with the Department of Education, the system comprises 499 solar panels spread across five roofs at the school coupled with 12 inverters. It is expected the power plant will save the school approximately $350,000 in electricity costs in the first year.
Education Minister Dr Tony Buti said the system, which is backed by a solar web tool that allows for real-time monitoring, will also allow staff and students to engage with the technology and link it to their learning in the classroom.
“The solar panels at Broome Senior High School – the largest solar panel installation at a regional school under the Solar Schools Program – will reduce the school’s carbon emissions and energy costs,” Buti said. “It will also provide further teaching and learning opportunities for students and staff in STEM areas which is exciting.”
The Broome Senior High School rooftop PV system is one of six solar systems installed at schools in Broome as part of the Solar Schools program and is part of a long-term investment by Horizon in the remote town that includes the introduction of two community batteries to maximise energy supply and distribution in the Kimberley township.
The energy storage solution means excess energy generated by rooftop solar can be absorbed by the batteries, which simultaneously smooth the flow of energy back into the network. This will ensure reliability of power supply and allow for a greater uptake of rooftop solar.
The Broome Senior High School rooftop system has been delivered as part of stage two of the state government’s Solar Schools initiative which is delivering PV systems to 65 remote and regional schools across two stages.
The first stage of the program was launched in 2020 with $5 million invested to rollout rooftop solar systems at 30 schools across the Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne Mid West and Goldfields Esperance regions.
Stage two of the program has seen the state government earmark $4.6 million out of the $45 million School’s Clean Energy Technology Fund to install rooftop solar systems at 28 schools in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions. Solar systems will also be installed at an additional seven schools which are being funded the Solar Clean Energy Technology Fund.
Horizon said there are 20 systems remaining to be delivered in stage two with the last installation expected to be completed by September 2023.
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