An innovative new program being piloted at Armidale's Sandon Public School is exploring the potential for schools to use solar PV panels and batteries to generate electricity for themselves and the State's energy grid.
Sandon Public School is one of 25 schools across NSW participating in the $20 million Schools Renewable Energy Infrastructure Pilot Project.
"By producing solar energy, Sandon Public School will benefit from lower energy bills and batteries will store any excess solar energy for later use or can be sold into the energy grid," Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said.
He said the school community was also excited about the learnings, innovations and savings ahead as it gets set to install new rooftop solar panels.
Once operational it's estimated the school will save $300,000 in power bills each year - money which can go back into educating students.
"NSW is leading the country in school design and this pilot project is one innovative way we are looking at powering, cooling and heating our schools," Mr Marshall said.
"I think we should be doing more of this, right across the region. Installing solar panels at our schools just makes sense - it saves huge amounts of money in electricity costs, which can be re-invested into students' education, provides a practical educational tool and allows schools to significantly reduce their carbon footprints."
The pilot project aims to assess the benefits and costs of the large-scale implementation of solar PV systems and batteries, together with other initiatives that can reduce demand on the energy network.
Mr Marshall said tenders were now open to building the solar power system and encouraged local companies to apply.
"The tender is open to qualified applicants who can design, supply and install the solar PV systems and batteries," he said.
Work is expected to start during the summer school holiday period in the hope it will be close to completion and operating in time for the start of the 2022 new school year.
Businesses can take part in the tender process for the program via tenderlink www.tenders.nsw.gov.au.
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