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How does solar power work?

The solar power system on your rooftop uses renewable energy from the sun to create clean green electricity to be used on-site.

  1. Energy from sunlight is converted into direct current (DC) electricity via an array of solar panels.
  2. An inverter converts the direct current to alternating current (AC), the same as mains supply electricity.
  3. The electrical panel then sends the power to feed your school computers, lights and other equipment.
  4. The utility meter measures the energy you draw and feedback to the supply grid. During the day when the sun is shining, some of the power being used is coming from the solar power system. If you’re consuming more energy than your system is producing extra power will come from the grid.

Why solar for my school?

Schools are ideal sites for solar because they use energy during the day at the same time as when the solar system is working at its best. When you can use the power at the time that it’s created then it’s free!

Schools can use solar power directly to run computer equipment, lighting, sports facilities and air conditioning.

Switching to solar energy helps reduce our local environmental impact, and also helps schools cut energy expenses.

Plus there are educational benefits for students and the wider parent community, and PR opportunities to market your school as an environmental leader.

Why is now a good time to go solar?

It’s more affordable than ever. Solar power prices have decreased by 80% over the last 10 years, so there’s never been a better time to go solar. We know about all the government incentives and grants and have been successful in securing funding for a number of schools so they get their solar systems for free or at greatly reduced costs. This may change, so why not start your solar journey today!

Who runs the program?

Solar my School is Council-run, founded as part of the 3-Council Regional Environment Program, a joint initiative of Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils. The program strongly supports the three Councils’ mission to reduce carbon emissions across the region, and enables the community to access renewable energy.

We are now working with other organisations in other Council areas.

Our school is interested to participate in this Solar my School program. What should we do?

We currently don’t work directly with schools, but only with Councils that want to support schools in their local area to go solar.

Firstly, check if Solar my School is currently active in your Council area here. If your Council Is on-board, simply register your interest. If not, it could be worth contacting your local Council to determine what level of support they provide or plan to offer to schools looking to go solar. We can help discuss this further with you. Email info@solarmyschool.org.au.

Our Council is interested in potentially joining Solar my School. What should we do?

We’d be happy to talk to you about the various ways we currently work with Councils in delivering Solar my School to schools in different areas, and associated costs.

Currently we are only active in the Sydney area. However, there may be scope to expand the program to other parts of NSW and beyond. Let’s talk! Email: info@solarmyschool.org.au.

Is my school suitable for solar?

Most schools are suitable for solar. However there a number of initial checks we need to do, before we can offer the full support service of the program. These include heritage considerations, roof structure, roof replacement works, other planned development works, involvement in other energy savings programs, plus other factors that might impede schools installing solar. For public schools, these checks are done in conjunction with the Department of Education.

We may also conduct an initial evaluation and/or selection process relating to the likelihood of schools proceeding with solar power installations, based on the above criteria, in consultation with your local Council.

What costs are involved?

The program is free from Council!

Costs for a solar power system depend on the size of the system. Our free independent solar assessment report will provide this information for your school.

Solar my School helps your school access grants and other available funding, which means your solar system could be free or a nominal cost to the school.

Do we have to commit to installing solar?

There’s no commitment to installing solar if it doesn’t suit your school’s circumstances. In nearly all cases we can identify the right size and type of system to suit your needs.

What happens on cloudy days, weekends and school holidays?

With grid connect solar systems in schools, you are still also connected to the mains power supply. So any shortfall in electricity production on less-sunny days will come from your mains supply automatically. On weekends or holidays when the school usage is low, the system exports the power back into the grid and earns money. Easy!

Is much maintenance involved?

There is little or no maintenance required and electronic components such as the inverter are totally maintenance free. We just recommend an annual check to ensure things are in working order. The Department of Education handles maintenance for public schools, and we have included 5 years of maintenance in our contract documentation that private schools can use.

How can I get go solar at home?

It’s easy with Our Energy Future, a joint Council-backed initiative in Sydney offering free advice and quotes on solar power and energy savings. Jump online or call the free helpline 1300 339 915.

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