$5 million solar school program rolls out

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The $5 million Rooftop Solar in Schools program is being rolled out in the Northern Territory, with tenders awarded for solar installations at five schools.

Announced in November last year, the Territory Government program will be delivered to 25 schools over three years at a cost of $5 million and is anticipated to save selected schools up to 40 per cent of their energy costs.

The Rooftop Solar in Schools Program is part of the Government’s Roadmap to Renewables Plan, which aims to transition to the Northern Territory to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Installation is underway at Casuarina Secondary College, the first of the 25 selected schools, and is soon to commence at Katherine High School, Nightcliff Primary School, Palmerston College and Sanderson Middle School.

Combined, the first five projects are expected to support 40 local construction jobs.

Tenders for a further five schools will be awarded in the coming months.

The program will be delivered to schools in every Territory region, including remote schools, with sites selected on the basis of their energy usage or their innovative science programs.

Eight schools have been identified in Round 1 (2018/19), six in Round 2 (2019/20) and five in Round 3 (2020/21).

In each of those rounds, two positions are open for Expressions of Interest, which will enable any Territory school to apply for the installation of solar panels.

NT Minister for Education, Selena Uibo, said, “The Territory Labor Government promised to install solar panels in schools across the Territory and we are delivering on that promise. 

“This program will enable selected schools to save up to 40 per cent of their energy costs and redirect those savings into resources that will enhance our children’s education.

“Additionally, the solar systems themselves will enhance children’s learning. They will include monitoring and measurement equipment, which will facilitate innovative school-based educational projects and inspire our next generation of engineers and scientists to advance renewable energy solutions.”

 NT Minister for Renewables, Energy and Essential Services, Dale Wakefield, said, “The Territory Labor Government’s target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030 will deliver local jobs, and cheaper, cleaner power. We have the potential to be Renewables Capital of Australia.

“Just last week, Singapore’s Sun Cable announced plans to power one third of the island nation by building the world’s biggest solar farm in the Territory, which will create 1300 jobs for Territorians.

“Construction is also underway on the $40 million, 25MW Katherine Solar Farm project, and twin $43 million, 10MW solar farms at Batchelor and Manton Dam, which, when all are completed by the end of 2019, will mean the Territory is powered by 10 per cent renewable energy.

“The $5 million Rooftop Solar in Schools program is also an important part of our Roadmap to Renewables plan, to not only save schools money, but to equip our Territory students with the skills they need to maximise the job opportunities the clean energy sector will bring.” 

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