The Northern Territory government has given an update on its rooftop solar on schools program and says that the six installations completed so far are saving their schools between $30,000 and $40,000 a year on energy costs.
The $5 million election commitment will install solar at a total of 25 schools throughout the Territory over the course of three years in what NT education minister Selena Uibo described as an investment in both education and renewable energy.
It is also a part of the government’s Roadmap to Renewables Plan, which is targeting 50 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030.
In a statement last week, Uibo said the six schools so far were already collectively saving about 565 metric tonnes of carbon each year and between $30,000 and $40,000 in annual energy costs, which were being redirected back into school budgets.
Over the 25-year lifetime of the solar panels, the same six schools, identified as some of the Territory’s largest energy consumers, were expected to save between $900,000 and $1.2 million in electricity costs.
“The Territory Labor Government is investing in education and delivering on our 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 by installing solar panels in schools across the Territory,” said Uibo.
“This infrastructure investment of $200,000 per school will yield big savings for the environment and for our schools over the long term, with some schools to save more than $1 million in electricity costs over the 25 year lifespan of the solar panels.
“Additionally, the solar systems themselves will also enhance learning. Their monitoring and measurement equipment will support innovative school-based science and technology projects, inspiring our next generation of engineers and scientists to advance renewable energy solutions.”
Tony Sievers, the Territory Labor government’s member for Brennan, said that at one of the schools, Palmerston College’s senior campus, the air conditioning system was now entirely powered by the 258 solar panels installed there.
“These panels are expected to save 82.4 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – or the equivalent of planting 43 hectares (106 acres) of trees each year – and $31,000 in electricity costs for Palmerston College in the first year alone,” he said.
“This is just another way the Territory Labor Government is delivering for Palmerston and for Palmerston’s greatest asset: our children.”