It is now a great time for Sutherland Shire schools to get solar. Sunny Shire provides free advice and meets with P&C’s, staff and students to help them get solar.
Sutherland Shire has over 70 schools, with a mix of public and private, high and primary and special schools. We think all these schools should be solar powered to reduce costs, reduce impact on the environment and support education. We estimate that there is a 5,000 to 7,000 kW school solar opportunity in Sutherland, representing a $8-10 million investment opportunity in local solar power.
Now is a great time to get solar. A $150,000 100kW system gets $50,000 worth of Renewable Energy Certificates, so net cost is $100,000. And also the NSW Department of Education is 50% funding solar systems, so schools only need to raise $50,000.
Generally 100kW solar systems will save $21,000 per annum on school electricity bills. Rather than this money going to energy companies, it can be invested in the school and education.
Small schools can get smaller systems, with lower fundraising needed (read guide table below). 100kW generally applies to all schools with more than 300 kids.
Menai High Schools Parents and Community led Australia with an amazing community project by fundraising for a 100kW system in 2011. In 2018, a Caringbah High School student advocated for his school to get 100kW, which has led to an Australia wide movement of Students pushing for solar on their schools
How Sunny Shire can help
Sunny Shire runs a rooftop solar bulk buy for Shire households that has seen over 130 shire families get high quality value for money solar using local solar companies. We do this by our volunteer experts providing free advice and pre-negotiating great prices from local supplies for high quality solar systems. We also led a crowd funding campaign for 5kW at NFP Engadine Occasional Care in 2018
For schools, we think a little effort can see big results, using the knowledge of our volunteers and broader community. This will include:
- Free advice for students, P&C committees and principals
- Free concept designs for each school, to assess the best size and estimated cost of solar for each school
- Events bringing together school communities to learn and share experiences on getting solar for their schools
- Tips on how to fund raise and get your school’s solar done
100kW and smaller solar systems get paid Renewable Energy Small Technology Certificates (STCs) up front, so solar companies provide a quote including this discount. For example, a 100kW system has a full cost of $150,000, but schools only have to pay $100,000, as the solar company applies for and receives the STCs on your behalf.
Solar systems over 100kW receive Renewable Energy Large Scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) over time, making the up front cost much higher, and the business case and administration more complicated. We recommend this is avoided in most circumstances.
Any school with over 300 kids should get 100kW
For smaller schools, there is a sweet spot of 40kW for around $40,000. 40kW of solar panels can be installed with a 30kW AC inverter. If the inverter size is over 30kW, $10,000 of grid protection is required. 40kW is a sweet spot and a very common commercial solar size in Australia for this reason. Any school with under 150 students should get 40kW.
For schools between 150-300 students, it is a case by case assessment.
|School Size||Solar |
|More than 300 Students||100kW||$110,000||$55,000|
|150-300 Students||Case by Case||TBC||$20,000-$55,000|
|Under 150 Students||40kW||$40,000||$20,000|
We are seeing that commonly for public schools, the school is able to chip in half of the cost of solar, and fundraising is required for the rest. This means P&C committees need to raise $55,000 for 100kW systems, and $23,000 for 40kW systems.
We will hold events from experienced fundraisers to share tips and lessons for schools fundraising for solar.
Schools Air Conditioning
We know that air conditioning for schools is an emerging big issue. Solar and air conditioning are a great combination, as solar generates at the same time we need air conditioning! Also there is a big opportunity to improve the safety of our schools, by using Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning to cool our class rooms in summer, but also heat them in winter. Old style flued gas heaters have safety issues and are very inefficient.
We have heard from 2 schools where the electrical infrastructure has challenges. Solar is unlikely to solve this alone, but solar together with improved electrical infrastructure and air conditioning can improve our schools for our kids!
School solar is an educational opportunity. We think every system should have a public ‘kiosk’ display where the solar production and school energy consumption is available online. This will show when solar generates, showing variable of solar production in days, seasons and time of day, along with school electricity consumption. A great educational opportunity, including how the school could be more efficient or adjust its electricity usage to make more of solar.
It would also be great to see local economic benefits, including using local workers and solar companies to install the solar, while achieving the best value for money. We often see larger state or nation wide solar companies win tenders for such projects, only to call our local solar companies to see if they can do the installation!
What can you do?
This will be a community wide effort. Please get in touch if you would like to help or further info, or fill in the form via the link below.
Let’s get started!
Here is the list of schools we have identified so far.
Burraneer Bay Public School
Caringbah High School
Caringbah North Activity Centre
Caringbah North Public School
Caringbah Public School
Como Public School
Como West Public School
Cronulla High School
Cronulla Public School
Cronulla South Public School
De La Salle College
Endeavour Sports High School
Engadine High School
Engadine Public School
Engadine West Public School
Gymea Bay Public School
Gymea High School
Gymea North Public School
Heathcote East Public School
Heathcote High School
Heathcote Public School
Jannali East Public School
Jannali High School
Jannali Public Schoo
Kirrawee High School
Kurnell Public School
Laguna Street Public School
Loftus Primary School
Loftus Public School
Lucas Heights High School
Marton Public School
Miranda North Public School
Miranda Public School
Our Lady Of Mercy College
Our Lady Star Of The Sea Primary School
Oyster Bay Public School
Port Hacking High School
Southern Cross Baptist School
St Aloysius Primary School
St Catherine Laboure Primary School
St Francis De Sales Primary School
St John Bosco College
St John Bosco Primary School
St Joseph’s School
St Patrick’s College
St Patrick’s Primary School
Sutherland North Public School
Sutherland Public School
Sutherland Shire Montessori School – Sydney Hi…
Sylvania Heights Public School
Sylvania High School
Sylvania Public School
Taren Point Public School
Waterfall Public School
Woolooware High School
Woolooware Public School
Woronora River Public School
Yarrawarrah Public School
Yowie Bay Public School