Besides Carbon savings of approx 1,200 Tonnes per year, the school probably saved A$285,000 in energy costs too.
An 888kW rooftop solar system installed at Camberwell Grammar School in Melbourne in 2018 – which is reportedly the largest PV array on any school in Australia – has produced just over 1GWh of renewable electricity in its first year of operation.
Gippsland Solar, the company behind the massive project, said last week that the system’s 2,700 panels had produced 1,027,000kWh in its first 12 months. Or just over 3 units per kw per day. The Camberwell Grammar installation was the fourth large-scale private school installation the company had completed in the past two years.
And while that is an impressive amount of solar energy for a single school to generate with carbon savings of approx 1,200 Tonnes per year, it was no surprise.
“We gave the customer a detailed performance guarantee, taking into account shading impacts and other analysis and variables, and we estimated about 980,000kWh a year,” Gippsland Solar founder and managing director Andy McCarthy said in a statement.
“The result came in nearly 3 percent (2.7%) above our estimate,” he added.
McCarthy says that with Australia’s commercial solar sector reaching boom-time, as more and more rooftop solar systems are coming with these sort of performance guarantees, and with a guarantee to compensate clients if they don’t meet targets.
“Clients are also understanding the gravity of the decision that they’re making,”McCarthy said.
Another good news story to come out of the Camberwell Grammar project, says McCarthy, was in the company’s dealings with network operator CitiPower, which had initially slapped a zero-export limit on the big system.
However, the school has not made any public announcement on the return on investment it is making from its solar installation. But McCarthy says, having put the customer’s tariff through the system, they can say that the PV system is on target on that metric, tracking at 3% above estimated savings. That should be close to Aus $285000 , going by the peak power cost of 28 cents in Victoria state .
In Australia, education buildings have been seen to take up Renewable energy in the form of solar. A 120-year old private school in Western Australia is expecting to save around $235,000 a year on its energy costs after installing an impressive 512kW of rooftop solar. Scotch College, a 1,500-student, 50-building facility located in Perth’s western suburbs, has installed 1,280 PV panels across multiple rooftops on its premises. Other examples that have been reported are, a 600kW PV system installed by Solar Choice on Canberra’s Amaroo school, in 2015; and also, Northern Bay College has installed as much as 500kW of rooftop solar across its six campuses in the Geelong region in Victoria, Australia.