Shalom College's drive to create a greener future for students and the community has seen the school named a finalist in a nation-wide Clean Energy awards event.
The Bundaberg school's $3.3m solar farm project has been announced as a finalist in the Clean Energy Council Solar Awards, which recognises the outstanding contribution businesses and individuals have made to clean energy in Australia.
Shalom College was nominated by Kurt Elvery of Elvery's Electrical Service and Dhayan Nadarajah of GEM Energy, with both companies playing integral roles in the installation of the $3.3m solar farm.
Principal Dan McMahon said the award nomination showcased just how important a greener and more sustainable future was to the college.
“At Shalom College, we are proud to be playing our part in protecting the environment through the installation of more than 2000 solar panels on our grounds, the largest of its kind in an Australian private education facility,” he said.
“This system helps us to create a sustainable future for our students and the college.
“We are thankful to GEM Energy and Elvery's Electrical for nominating the college for the CEC Solar Awards, and to be recognised for our dedication to clean energy.”
Mr McMahon said since the solar farm was established late last year, the school had already experienced many benefits.
“Our solar farm means that we are essentially running the college using 100 per cent renewable energy,” he said.
“It allows us to not only run the college on solar but also feed back to the grid and allow Ergon Energy to take their backup generator for fluctuations offline.
“With close to 1600 students at the college every day, plus our staff, it is fantastic to operate in a way that does not have a major impact on the environment.”
Shalom College solar savings
Mr McMahon said the school had significantly decreased CO2 emissions and reduced electricity costs since the installation.
“In September 2020 our emission of CO2 was about 39.3 tonnes and in September this year it was 0.6 tonnes,” he said.
“In dollar terms, electricity cost the college $3,468 in September 2020 and September this year we paid just $60.”
Mr McMahon said, apart from the cost savings, other benefits of the solar farm included a growing interest from students about clean and green energy.
“The solar farm shows our students how we can all take steps to protect our environment,” he said.
“We are helping to reduce air pollution, our carbon footprint, and the reliance on fossil fuels.
“Along with our solar farm, the college is committed to implementing environmentally-friendly measures and the students are involved in many different activities such as tree planting and recycling.”
You can view the CEC Awards nomination for the Shalom College solar farm here.