Victorian school installs 500kW rooftop solar system

One of Victoria’s largest schools, the Northern Bay College, has revealed plans to install as much as 500kW of rooftop solar across its six campuses in the Geelong region.
Northern Bay, which was formed in 2011 as a result of a merger of nine schools into one multi-campus College, selected United Solar Energy to design and install the nearly 1700 Winaico PV panels and 2000 LED lighting upgrades.
United Solar CEO and chief engineer Richard Vargas said the company won the tender for the Northern Bay job – which is now underway – due to its successful project track record and its history working with schools.
The company launched a targeted United SolarSchools program in 2014, through which it says it has since installed more than 6000 solar panels and LED lights – helping to deliver “substantial savings” on school electricity bills.
But it is not the only company to see the great pairing that solar PV and schools make.
Fellow Victorian company Gippsland Solar installed a 240kW (740 panel) solar array (pictured below) at Newhaven College in Phillip Island, on the state’s Bass Coast, in June.
Gippsland Solar managing director Andrew McCarthy said the job, which the team installed over the mid-year school holidays, was the most complex project his team had worked on, using some of the most advanced wireless technology on the market.
As you can see below, the result for the school has been good, with the system managing to generate 1,180kWh on the last day of winter. McCarthy says this puts the installation on track to provide a financial return on investment of just over four years.
In Western Australia, the Ellenbrook North Senior School, in Perth’s north-eastern suburbs, installed a 592.64kW solar PV system, which – according to installer, Infinite Energy – is among the largest on the Western Power Network.
That system is made up of more than 1,850 Canadian Solar panels and 16 SMA inverters, and is expected to “sustainably power” the new 1,450 student school.
Check out the video on that job below.

And in Queensland, as we reported here in June, the Bundaberg Christian College, which just happens to be located in Queensland’s top solar postcode installed a 194kW solar system with 250kWh of battery storage (located in the white container to the right of the water tanks in the image below), completed and switched on in March this year, and which – at the time – laid claim to being the largest hybrid solar and storage array ever to be installed at an Australian school.

That system, installed by GEM Energy, is expected to save the school up to $100,000 a year on its power bills by cutting its use of grid electricity by as much as 80 per cent. With these savings, the system is expected to pay for itself in seven years.
Other solar school examples include Canberra’s Amaroo School, which last year commissioned a 600kW rooftop PV system; and Mazenod College in Melbourne, which installed a 270kW PV array in 2014.

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