Get smart: solar boost for NSW public schools

Aerial photo of solar panels atop Kingswood Public School (schools)
Kingswood Public School

More public schools across NSW will receive solar and battery energy storage systems and join a Virtual Power Plant trial as part of the NSW Government’s Smart Energy Schools Pilot project

A total of 79 schools are now part of the project, which is testing the use of solar and battery energy storage systems, demand response controls in air conditioning and the operation of a schools based Virtual Power Plant (VPP). 

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Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the project was the largest school-based renewable energy project of its type in the country. 

“We know the solar systems installed as part of first stage of the project have already generated more than 460 megawatt hours of clean renewable energy—that’s enough energy to keep the lights on at the Sydney Cricket Ground and the Melbourne Cricket Ground for a whole a year,” Minister Mitchell said. 

“These solar systems have also helped to reduce the schools’ electricity costs by almost $100,000 and cut carbon emissions from electricity supply by more than 50% 

“It’s fantastic that we can now extend these benefits to a further 18 schools to benefit their students and the wider school community.” 

Solar and battery energy storage systems are now being installed in Stage 2 schools, prior to the start of the VPP trial. The additional 18 schools will join the Stage 2 program, with the VPP due to begin by mid-2023. 

An Expression of Interest (EOI) is also being undertaken seeking proposals to finance, deliver and operate renewable energy solutions across the entire NSW public school portfolio of assets. 

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“Already, around 1,500 NSW public schools have some form of existing solar and we want to maximise the role our schools play in delivering a renewable energy solution,” the minister said. 

“This process will allow us to use the insights from the renewable energy sector to achieve this.” 

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