The national solar schools program, run by the Sustainable Energy Development Office (SEDO), has more than 200 WA schools participating, with around 40 approved in the last quarter of 2009.
The WA Solar Schools Program is funded by the Western Australian Government and administered by the OOE. Solar schools incorporate lessons on renewable energy and energy efficiency and are encouraged to undertake student-led school energy audits, often involving parents and the wider community.
The Western Australian (WA) Solar Schools Program supports solar power systems installed in WA schools.
The objectives of the program are to:
“Schools can save about $400 a year on electricity bills, but the greater value is increasing the understanding and awareness of students to renewable energy and efficiency,” said Michael Kerr, director of SEDO.
And Principal Martin Humphreys, Banksia Park PS, couldn’t agree more.
“During 2007 Lesley Puglisi, Rose Clancy, Liz Cummins and Liz Hogben (all union members) began investigating ways in which we could further reduce our impact on the environment. We had already instituted programmes involving the recycling of paper and the reduction of food scraps through the use of composting and worms.
“By the end of 2007 the group completed a submission to become a Solar School, whereby the school (with financial assistance form SEDO) would install solar cells that would produce some of our own electricity.
“In March 2008 the SEDO announced that our submission was successful, and so our journey to produce some of our own electricity began. An additional $50,000 was made available to extend our electricity generation capacity, when we successfully applied for the National Solar Schools Program.
“We have also entered into an agreement with Synergy and installed a new import/export electricity meter, so that any excess power that is generated can be sold back into the electrical grid and used by other customers.”
The WA Solar Schools Program is available to WA primary, middle and high schools. For solar power systems with an installed generating capacity of at least 950W, the WA Solar Schools Program will provide up to $12,500 (ex GST) for metropolitan schools and up to $13,000 (ex GST) for regional schools.
Enquiries about the WA Solar Schools Program can be directed to OOE: Ph: 9420 5721; sedo.energy.wa.gov.au