Solar my School

by Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick Councils

(Government)

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Solar my School is a free Council program helping schools install solar power, and access the financial, educational and environmental benefits of clean green energy.

Project implemented: May 2017

Project goal

The program’s main objectives are:

  • To power more than 90% Eastern Suburbs schools with clean, green and locally produced electricity by helping them to install solar PV on suitable roof spaces to match their daily and seasonal energy demand.
  • To increase renewable energy uptake in our local government region.
  • To deliver meaningful reductions in carbon emission reductions across Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.
  • To do solar better and make the experience of installation seamless, easy and transparent for schools.
  • To capture and promote the educational and community benefits of installing solar in schools to scale the impact.
  • Help other Councils roll out similar programs in their areas to widen the reach of these positive impacts.

 

delivering on

why is this project important?

Solar my School is a low cost, high benefit model which sees tangible results in affirmative climate action, creating sustainable communities and increasing renewable energy uptake, that could be easily replicated by schools around Australia. Every community has schools, and every school should have solar.

impact to date

90%
Over 90% of schools in the Eastern Suburbs are participating in the program.

Of systems already installed, we have the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th largest solar power installations on a building in the Eastern Suburbs. Kincoppal-Rose Bay’s 100kW system is the largest in the Eastern Suburbs outside University of NSW. Maroubar Bay Public School’s 36kW system is the largest on a primary school.

We’ve helped 23 schools access over $300k in external grant funding for solar projects. The program’s been well-received, driving uptake beyond business-as-usual and sparking thinking on other sustainability initiatives.

Our leadership and advocacy work with the State Government is positively influencing and improving solar uptake in NSW public schools.

SmS is also teaching students and teachers alike about local climate change solutions, and we’ve provided 300 Solar Buddy solar-powered lights to students in developing countries.

 

Solar my School is a Council-run program that facilitates the installation of solar power on public, private and Catholic schools in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, helping to unlock financial, environmental and educational benefits for schools of locally produced, clean energy.

The program was created by Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils in 2016.  It is currently being rolled out to other areas in Sydney.

Schools are ideal sites for solar power. They have large often-unshaded roof spaces (often the largest roof spaces in LGAs), high daytime energy demand and long tenure. Schools are also important knowledge hubs and influential leaders in our communities on sustainability issues.

While there is a strong desire to go solar, school staff are generally confused by the process and not sure where to start. They don’t have the knowledge, the time to sift through the information and are largely distrustful of the solar industry due to past problematic installations and negative experiences with solar installers.

Solar my School (SmS) is the only independent ‘facilitation’ program in Australia seeking to overcome these key barriers and help schools access the benefits of solar power, via a tailored facilitation pathway.

The program is designed to make it simple for schools to go solar with Council support from start to finish. We take out the technical complexity, providing advice and guidance, as well as key documentation (technical, education, promotions). Throughout the process, there is regular engagement with school decision-makers including on-site visits, presentations to Boards and P&Cs and phone/email.

The SmS model links engagement and infrastructure processes to produce triple bottom-line outcomes: economic (cost savings for schools); environmental (greenhouse gas reductions), and social (normalizing solar for the school community).

A key outcome is the Program’s ability to teach students about renewable energy and meet STEAM learning outcomes, with a concrete on-site solution supported by our curriculum-linked education guide, which provides over 20 lesson plans.

 

 

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