ACT Government updates

Fast-tracked installation of public school solar batteries

May 25, 2020

The ACT Government continues to build on its commitment to do the heavy lifting for the community to reduce carbon emissions. Through the governments fast-tracked projects, two public schools will be fitted with solar batteries.

Two 40-kilowatt (kW) renewable energy storage systems will be installed in two ACT public schools and will allow renewable electricity from onsite rooftop solar generation to be stored for later use in peak electricity demand periods.

This fast-tracked project will reduce grid electricity demand and school energy costs, as well as supporting local businesses during this challenging time.

Margaret Hendry School, the ACT’s first public school to produce zero emissions in its operation, will receive one of the battery systems, and Caroline Chisholm will receive the other.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Yvette Berry, said “These batteries are in addition to all the work the government has already been doing to do the heavy lifting to reduce carbon emissions on behalf of the Canberra community.

"The government, through school education, has led change towards more environmentally sustainable buildings. Every new school will be built with attention given to sustainability with Canberra's second carbon neutral school well under way in Molonglo to be ready for students at the start of 2021.

“Across our older schools we’re upgrading roofs, replacing gas boilers with electric heaters, as well as the solar panels that have been installed on all public schools.

"In 2018 I asked the Education Directorate to begin looking at how solar batteries could be incorporated into our efforts. Approximately $850,000 has been invested since then to expand solar in schools in preparation for batteries, and a further $250,000 will be invested to boost solar panel installations on new schools," Minister Berry said. 

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury, said the approximately $100,000 project to install the two 40-kilowatt (kW) batteries would allow renewable electricity from onsite rooftop solar generation to be stored for later use in peak electricity demand periods.

“As well as the local economic stimulus benefits for the ACT electrical trades sector, this fast-track project will reduce grid electricity demand and school energy costs,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Their installations will be test cases for the Government. The project will provide us with valuable data on how to optimise the use of batteries to meet energy needs at the various schools in the ACT.

“We expect that by demonstrating the multiple benefits of solar battery storage systems, they will pave the way for future expansion of batteries across other ACT schools and the community more widely.

“At the same time, they will help the Territory improve its sustainability, move us closer to our goal of zero-net emissions by 2045, and help ensure we remain a world leader in addressing climate change,” Mr Rattenbury said.