Queensland school goes big on solar – and Tesla battery storage

A private school in the coastal Queensland city of Bundaberg is installing just under 1MW of solar power and more than a megawatt-hour of battery storage capacity to slash its costs and underpin future expansion.

The project, which was featured in the local press this week, is being installed by Queensland-based commercial solar outfit Gem Energy at Shalom College.

Gem Energy’s marketing manager Phoenix Shaw-Collery said work had kicked off this month, and would feature 810kW total installed solar panel capacity, with 1160kWh of Tesla battery power.

“This has been tailored to suit the needs of the school and future growth,” Shaw-Collery said.

“Work is currently planned to be completed mid-April, with commissioning and operations planned to be end of April.”

“The school will benefit from being a market leader in renewable energy and pushing the boundaries of what can be done if a pro-active process is implemented,” he said.

“Being so close to the school itself, the system provides a great example to the kids that renewable energy is a viable, modern and clean energy source.”

The project is part of a bigger project across a range of schools in Queensland – a 6MW+ partnership with Catholic Education Rockhampton.

That partnership, as reported on One Step here, kicked off back in 2017, also promised to install battery storage totalling more than 3MWh.

The deal also features energy efficiency initiatives including LED lighting upgrades.

GEM Energy CEO Jack Hooper said at the time that schools were a natural fit for solar PV, with the bulk of their metered power usage (air-conditioning and lighting) happening while the sun is shining.

“We look to minimise demand peaks and maximise on-site usage of the ‘free’ power,” Hooper said.

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