Rooftop Solar in Schools Election Commitment Slashes NT’s Carbon Footprint

The Territory Labor Government’s Rooftop Solar in Schools program is already dramatically reducing the NT’s carbon footprint, as the first round of solar panel installations roll out.

The $5 million program, a 2016 election commitment, is part of the Territory Labor Government’s Roadmap to Renewables Plan, which aims to transition the NT to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

It will see solar panels installed at 25 schools in every Territory region over three years, including some remote and very remote schools.

In total, when the panels are installed at the 25 schools, the Northern Territory is estimated to save 1640 metric tonnes of carbon annually, equivalent to 860 hectares (2125 acres) of trees planted each year.

This carbon saving will offset:

  • 354 cars driven each year; or
  • 200 homes’ energy use for a year; or
  • Nine railcars of coal burned; or
  • 21.7 tanker trucks of petrol used

So far, six schools have had the panels installed and connected.

They are already collectively saving about 565 metric tonnes of carbon each year – equivalent to planting 300 hectares (740 acres) of trees annually.

These six schools are also saving between $30,000 and $40,000 in annual energy costs, which are being redirected back into school budgets.

Over the 25 year lifetime of the solar panels, these six schools, some of the Territory’s largest energy consumers, are expected to save between $900,000 and $1.2 million in electricity costs.

As stated by Minister for Education, Selena Uibo.

“The Territory Labor Government is investing in education and delivering on our 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 by installing solar panels in schools across the Territory.

“This infrastructure investment of $200,000 per school will yield big savings for the environment and for our schools over the long term, with some schools to save more than $1 million in electricity costs over the 25 year lifespan of the solar panels.

“Additionally, the solar systems themselves will also enhance learning. Their monitoring and measurement equipment will support innovative school-based science and technology projects, inspiring our next generation of engineers and scientists to advance renewable energy solutions.”

As stated by Minister for Climate Change, Eva Lawler.

“The Territory Labor Government set a target of 50% renewables by 2030 before we came to Government and, through investments such this, we are becoming a renewables superpower.

“The $5 million Rooftop Solar in Schools program is an important part of our Roadmap to Renewables plan, to not only save schools money, but to save hundreds of metric tonnes of carbon each year and to create jobs for Territorians.

“The CLP think renewables are a hoax and Terry Mills will scrap Labor’s 50% target. Their cuts to renewables will cost the Territory jobs and increase power prices.”

As stated by Member for Brennan, Tony Sievers.

“At Palmerston College’s senior campus, where 258 solar panels have been installed, the air conditioning system is now entirely powered by renewable energy.

“These panels are expected to save 82.4 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – or the equivalent of planting 43 hectares (106 acres) of trees each year – and $31,000 in electricity costs for Palmerston College in the first year alone.

“This is just another way the Territory Labor Government is delivering for Palmerston and for Palmerston’s greatest asset: our children.”

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