School solar panels to save $10 million a year

Solar panel array under blue sky (Solar Professionals)

The Queensland Government will spend $97 million in the next three years to help schools cut their combined power bill by about 20 per cent.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Education Minister Grace Grace said the Advancing Clean Energy Schools (ACES) program would deliver energy efficiency and big savings for about 800 state schools while visiting Bremer State High School in Ipswich.

“The ACES program will save our schools an estimated $10.2 million a year,” the Premier said.

“That’s a great saving for schools as well as a fantastic contribution to our 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

“Our state schools are among the government’s largest energy users, with an annual energy bill of more than $50 million.

“This program will be a game changer and the reduced environmental impact will be significant.

“By reducing costs and reinvesting savings into the program, we can ensure state schools across Queensland have more sustainable energy use into the future.

“The first phase of the program this year will include up to 30 schools in each of the Department of Education’s seven regions, so the benefits will be shared throughout the state.”

The program will see an investment of $40 million in solar photovoltaic systems and $57 million on making schools more energy efficient.

Minister Grace said the Bremer State High School would be one of the first schools to benefit and an audit would be carried out to determine the best ways to help it to reduce its energy costs.

“Currently Bremer spends about $250,000 a year on electricity, with $100,000 of that in network charges so that gives an indication of the impact this initiative will have over time.

“It is a school where clean energy and environmentally friendly measures are already in use.

“A small 4.1kW solar system on the roof currently supplies about 0.7 per cent of electricity consumption and there are large areas of synthetic grass around the school to save on watering and fuel costs for mowing.

“We know that many of our schools have great environmental programs and do what they can to save energy and water and this program will make a massive contribution.”