Hundreds of Queensland schools are set to benefit from the rollout of additional rooftop solar systems, as part of a Queensland Government initiative to defray the costs of installing air-conditioning in every public school classroom.
The Palaszczuk government has committed to the four-year roll out that hopes to improve the learning environment in 650 state schools, and will install 26MW of additional solar capacity by mid-2022.
The Queensland government expects the role out to create an additional 1,000 jobs through in the installation of the solar systems.
The initiative will see an additional 80,000 solar panels installed across Queensland schools, expanding on the 110,000 panels being installed under the government’s Advancing Clean Energy Schools (ACES) initiative.
“This will be achieved through a $71 million boost to our Advancing Clean Energy Schools program, creating a virtual solar farm on school rooftops across the state,” Queensland education minister Grace Grace said.
The installations are part of a larger $477 million Advancing Clean Energy Schools (ACES) program, which is targeting the installation of air conditioning systems in every school classroom across Queensland.
The program will see air conditioning units installed across 650 state-run schools and in around 10,000 classrooms, libraries and staff rooms.
“We want our schools to be places where children can learn in comfortable environments,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“Cooler schools, better grades, brighter futures – that’s what we’re all about.”
The solar systems will be used to offset the additional energy consumption of the air conditioning units and will avoid schools having to carry the costs of operating the new systems.
Queensland schools spend an estimated $71 million annually on electricity supplies and is targeting the rollout of rooftop solar and additional energy savings measures to reduce these costs.
The announcement follows the Northern Territory confirming the selection of 25 schools that will have rooftop solar systems installed.
The NT roll-out is being supported by grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which noted that schools are ideal hosts for rooftop solar installations given their large amount of spare roof space and a demand profile that closely aligns with daytime hours.