Sylvia Park School Year 3 students, from left, Juan Pablo Likiafu, Jaeda Alaalatoa-Dale, Justina Maka and Wils Pahulu with principal Barbara Alaalatoa hold one of the 40 solar panels being installed by solarcity on the school's roof.
Auckland, 25 Sept 2015 - Sylvia Park School is the first school in New Zealand to go solar using a smart new plan which provides solar power without paying for the panels.
Today 40 solar panels were commissioned at the Auckland primary and intermediate school by New Zealand’s leading solar energy company, solarcity. Under its solarZeroSchools plan the company pays for the panels as well as the installation, maintenance, monitoring and insurance for 20 years. The school simply pays a fixed monthly fee for solar for the term of the agreement.
solarcity CEO Andrew Booth says the plan is designed to save schools money on energy and help them educate the next generation of Kiwis on the importance of renewable energy.
“Not only does our solarZeroSchools plan deliver lower operating costs and more certainty around price, using solar provides an opportunity to educate students about renewable energy and it empowers and inspires the school community to take a stand for our environment.
“Each and every time, a new generation has gone to school they have risen up and done what's needed to be done to meet the challenges our nation has faced,” he says.
For the first time there is very little that our children can do to stop the climate changes our generation have put in train. We have to meet this challenge today to secure them a future we can be proud of,” he says.
“Solar makes sense for schools as the sun generates electricity at the same time they are consuming most of their energy.”
The 10.4 kWp system will produce approximately 15% of the school’s annual electricity demand. Using solar energy will also save more than 50 tonnes of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of about 1300 urban trees.
solarcity worked alongside Mighty River Power to put in place a seamless installation and execution process for the school. Mighty River Power CEO, Fraser Whineray, says New Zealand has a long and proud heritage in renewable energy, with 80% of the country’s electricity already coming from hydro, geothermal and wind.
“That’s among the highest in the world, and it’s great to have another renewable in solar – one that is a great fit for the school and provides an opportunity for kids to learn more about electricity.”
Along with teaching materials, the system will supply real time data that can be used to help students learn about climate change, clean energy and energy efficiency. Using online monitoring, the 510 students and 25 teachers will be able to track the performance of the system, the school’s energy use and the carbon savings.
“The students have been very interested in seeing the panels go up and asking lots of questions. Being able to go online and see how much they’re producing and how much energy it takes to the power the school is going to be a great learning tool,” says Sylvia Park School Principal Barbara Alaalatoa.
“Powering our classrooms with the energy of the sun makes perfect sense when you look at the financial, educational and environmental benefits.”
solarcity launched a similar solarZero plan, earlier this year, to help homeowners beat the rising cost of power. Find out more at www.solarcity.co.nz.