Why are schools and colleges investing in solar?

Published Categories: Tags:

Schools across Australia are investing in solar panels to power their classrooms, but what are the benefits of making the switch? 

Commercial solar for schools

Australia is the sunniest continent in the world. It's a claim that Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, has made several times over the last few years, and it appears to be true, according to ABC Fact Check.

So it's no surprise that solar power is a popular clean energy solution for the country's households, businesses and institutions. Schools are no exception, with a growing number turning to solar energy systems to power their classrooms.

Under the National Solar School Program, the Federal government provided grants of up to $50,000 for each academic institution that installed grid-connected solar power. The initiative finished in 2013, but many schools have continued to secure clean energy funding for solar installations.

Let's examine some of the benefits of solar power systems through recent examples of schools that have made the switch.

The benefits of solar-powered schools

Energy savings are typically the biggest selling point for solar panels, but schools can benefit from more than just reduced costs. Other advantages include:

  • A lower carbon footprint;
  • Setting a good example to pupils; and
  • Engaging the local community on renewable energy issues.

Around one-fifth of the country's households currently use solar energy, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show. Teaching children about the benefits of clean energy solutions from a young age could help this percentage increase significantly in the coming years.

So what kind of savings can schools make? That depends on the size and type of solar power system installed and where the school is located.

Last year, Bundaberg Christian College invested in a GEM Energy Australia solar PV installation and LED lighting project that is expected to lower power usage by up to 80 percent. This will equate to approximately $100,000 a year in cost reductions, with lifetime savings estimated at $2.5 million.

Meanwhile, Kincoppal-Rose Bay School installed solar panels in June that will produce 149,000 kWh of electricity per year - enough to power 26 Australian homes.

Clean energy funding for schools

Some state governments still provide funding for schools hoping to invest in solar power.

For example, the South Australian government recently announced $15 million worth of grants for clean energy upgrades at schools, including solar panel installations.

But grants won't always cover the costs of a sophisticated solar power system, and many academic institutions may not have access to state funding.

If you'd like to discuss how clean energy finance options can help you upgrade to a more environmentally friendly future, please contact Classic Funding Group today.