Are you an Australian teacher or perhaps an Aussie parent with children in school?
The Australian Federal Government is now offering a whopping $50,000 grant to most Australian schools for the purposes of installing a grid connect solar power system.
What is grid connect solar power?
A grid connect system is pretty simple as it doesn’t require batteries or any major rewiring.
Grid connect solar system
(Image courtesy Energy Matters Australia – grid connect solar specialists)
While the sun shines, electricity is generated which can be used by the school and when it’s not, things run per normal via the school’s mains electricity connection. Surplus energy created is fed back into the mains supply grid. It’s all automatic, no switches are involved. I go into a bit more detail on how it all works in my article on grid connect solar power.
The $50,000 solar grant
I’ve been over much of the documentation associated with the Australian National Solar School Program looking for major gotchas connected with the $50,000 grants but it all looks pretty straightforward, no nasty surprises – just (as with any government grant) a bit of paperwork to complete; but it doesn’t require a major submission.
Basically, the grant is available to all Australian schools that provide education at a primary and/or secondary level and who are eligible to receive Australian Government general recurrent grants payments appropriated under the Schools Assistance Act 2004.
This is a *fantastic* initiative that all Australian schools should take advantage of while the cash is available.
Benefits for schools
Installing a grid connect system will not only reduce a school’s electricity bills and greenhouse gas emissions, but it’s also a great educational tool for students – a live renewable energy experiment that can form the basis of many lessons relating to science and social studies.
Just for the purposes of disclosure; the reason I know a bit about the National Solar Schools program is because I work for Energy Matters Australia – suppliers and installers of wind and solar power equipment.
So, given my involvement, of course I recommend schools select Energy Matters as their solar power equipment/installation provider :). Seriously though, they are a great company staffed by very friendly and knowledgeable folks. If you do contact them, let them know I sent you :).
The team at Energy Matters have performed more grid connect installations than just about anyone else in Australia and among them; quite a few solar installations on schools. Energy Matters are currently offering schools a price guarantee and additional bonuses to ensure schools get the most bang for their grant buck, plus assistance in grant application preparation.
Given the Federal Government’s generosity, there’s really no reason why just about every school in Australia can’t be at least partially powered by renewable energy within the next couple of years! It will certainly help move Australia towards its Mandatory Renewable Energy Target of 20% by 2020.