Rooftop Solar for Shire Pre-Schools

Sunny Shire is a volunteer based community organisation that advocates for adoption of solar, efficiency, storage and electric vehicles, and runs programs . This post sets:

  • How Shire Pre-Schools can benefit from solar
  • How much it costs and how much you save
  • How they can get solar
  • What size they should get
  • How they can fund it
  • A case study

This post concentrates on independent not-for-profit, pre-schools, generally in council owned community buildings. At the end we explain some options for (private) Childcare and rented childcare.

Solar for Pre Schools

Many Shire pre-schools are Not-for-Profit (NFP) meaning any money saved can be invested in better pre schools for our young kids, books, building maintenance and staff. One of those costs is electricity. And the good news is, solar is now so cheap we can use local solar companies to install solar and save significantly on our electricity bills. These savings can be used to build stronger pre-schools and a stronger shire community.

How much does it cost?

Most Pre Schools in the shire are fairly small so don’t use too much electricity. If the annual electricity bills are under $4,000, typically a 6.6kW solar system for $7,000 will suit. Any smaller and it becomes less economic.

A 6.6 kW system normally has around 21 solar panels, and will produce 25 kWh per day. A preschool may use 10kWh of this solar directly on average, with the rest being spilled into the grid, for example on weekends.

If the preschool pays around 25 c/kWh this will save $2.5 per day. For feeding in the unused solar into the grid, they may earn 10 c/kWh, seeing earnings on average of $1.5 per day. So in total ($2.5 saving + $1.5 credits), you would expect $4 per day benefit of solar on the bills, or $1,460 per year. This sees a payback of 4.8 years.

Over 20 years, having spend $7,000 and saved $1,460 per year, this could be $22,000 of savings for the pre-school.

How to get solar?

Getting solar is easy, so long as you avoid the cheap and nasty solar companies. Sunny Shire has facilitated over 160 solar systems in the Shire in the past 2 years, using 2 great local solar companies. We put them in touch with you to provide a direct quote, no middle-man and sales people.

What Size?

If your bill is under $4,000, 6.6kW is fine. We know Pre-Schools are very sensitive to finances, and realise they would not want to spend too much. But if the Pre-School bill is over $4,000, it may pay to get a bigger system. Send us a bill (info@sunnyshire.org,au) and we can assess.

How to Fund Solar?

If you have $7,000 in the bank that is free for such use, then you can simply pay for your system. For Engadine Occasional Care, we organised an interest free loan from a fellow Community Energy Group, the CORENA Fund. This fund is set up dedicated to providing interest free loans for solar for NFP community organisations. They also review the design and cost to make sure it will work.

In addition to this, Sunny Shire raise 20% of the cost using online crowd funding (and we’d love to do it again). We think that the local Pre-School community may be willing to chip in a little to support the long term financial sustainability of the Pre-School, and online crowd funding is so simple to organise now, it is worth doing.

If the interest free loan is $1,400 per annum for 5 years for a 6.6kW system. then it is cost neutral for 5 years then free after that.

A Case Study

Check out the full storage on our Engadine Occaisional Care project. They are now seeing great savings on their bills, greater than their loan repayments. And in 3 years, they will own the system outright and just see lower bills.

For Childcare and Rented Properties

With a 4-5 year payback, solar makes sense for most daytime businesses. There are many options to get solar and fund it. Even if you rent. If this is you, get in touch at info@sunnyshire.org.au . Again, we are volunteers with no commercial interest, and can assist with free unbiased advice.

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