Schools in solar scheme

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Sebastien Dargatz and Cherish Green, both Year 8, with associate principal Alison Parolo.
Camera IconSebastien Dargatz and Cherish Green, both Year 8, with associate principal Alison Parolo. Credit: Supplied

Three schools across the City of Rockingham and Kwinana have been awarded solar panels and commercial batteries, through the State Government’s Virtual Power Plant pilot project.

Baldivis Secondary College, Gilmore College and Comet Bay Primary School are three of 10 schools selected across WA.

The aim of the project is to cut school’s electricity bills and take steps towards a more sustainable future.

The $4 million investment forms part of the Government’s $66.3 million renewable energy technologies package in the WA Recovery Plan.

Baldivis Secondary College associate principal Alison Parolo said Synergy had worked with the Department of Education to identify suitable schools.

“We anticipate that there will be cost savings for us in terms of our energy use,” she said.

“This pilot project will further inform our electricity consumption and help us to explore and learn how to create more value for energy system security and sustainability. Furthermore, there will be learning opportunities for students in the areas of STEM education.

“It will inspire the next generation to explore new possibilities for WA’s energy future.”

Ms Parolo said the school had a sustainability focus.

“It makes sense for us to be able to contribute a cleaner and greener energy system in such a positive and practical way. The whole community will benefit from a stable energy supply,” she said. “Given that for much of the summer period, schools are closed it makes sense for the energy generated to be distributed into the local grid.”

Member for Warnbro Paul Papalia said it is important for young students to learn about the benefits of renewable energy.

“Not only will this teach our young people about green energy and pique their interest in science, it will also help the school better manage their own energy consumption,” he said.

“We’re supporting Comet Bay Primary School so students are provided an opportunity to further their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education and teach them about renewable energy technologies.

“This pilot program not only benefits the school, it will also create new jobs and teach new skills to build our future electricity system.”

Member for Baldivis Reece Whitby said the program was a welcome addition to Baldivis, and he was thrilled that Baldivis Secondary College was taking part.

“It gives students the opportunity to learn more about renewable energy technologies, their function and application in WA’s energy sector,” he said.

Member for Kwinana Roger Cook said he was extremely proud of the selection of Gilmore College in Orelia.

“This is an exciting time for the wider Kwinana area. I am always happy to support Gilmore College and their principal Rohan Smith, and I know the students and teachers at Gilmore College are extremely excited to pioneer the Synergy’s Schools Virtual Power Plant program,” he said,

Energy Minister Bill Johnston said the schools would help highlight the integration of rooftop solar, batteries and other small-scale technologies into the State power grid.

“The Virtual Power Plants will make the local electricity grid more stable and reliable, and assist in the transition towards a cleaner energy future,” he said.

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