ATLANTIS Beach Baptist College in Two Rocks is the first school in Australia to become 100 per cent sustainable while being completely off the grid with a fully functional solar power-battery system.
The college opened in February 2017 using diesel generators for power with a view to installing a sustainable energy system during 2018.
It recently engaged the services of Sydney-based Upstream Energy which specialises in delivering sustainable energy solutions for the commercial sector.
Upstream Energy managing director Nathan Begley said the college was the first school in Australia to have zero carbon emissions while also being independent of the electricity grid.
“Upstream’s clean energy solution for Atlantis Baptist College will deliver solar electricity during daylight hours, backed up by battery storage overnight, at a fixed rate for the term – providing the below cost benefits,’’ he said.
“The annual energy consumption of the campus is approximately 25,000kWh and the new solar and storage system will deliver up to 32,390kWh of sustainable energy at a substantially lower cost than what it would cost for ABBC to procure a grid connection.
“The system will provide 100 per cent of the school’s energy requirements throughout the year.
“ABBC will purchase clean electricity from Upstream, much like a typical retailer and ABBC will receive ownership of the asset at nil cost upon expiry of the Power Purchase Agreement – however ABBC will retain the right to exit the by purchasing the equipment at any time.
“Upstream will continue to work as ABBC’s sustainability partner, expanding the project in line with the growth of the campus,” he said.
In January this year The Sydney Morning Herald reported on two schools’ classrooms in NSW, which would be powered solely by renewable energy, taking them off the grid and teaching students about sustainability.
In Australian first, two schools powered solely by green energy it said the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and federal government were providing $370,000 in funding to St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School in Holsworthy and Dapto High School to trial a 100 per cent renewable power and smart technology program in their new classrooms.
ABBC principal Gary Harris said the college was delighted with the new off-grid solar power system.
“We initially saved $250,000 by deciding to not use grid power when the college opened last year and our new solar power system will replace the electricity previously generated by onsite diesel generators,’’ he said.
“The new solar power system is environmentally friendly and will deliver major cost savings for our college which we can use to invest in additional educations facilities for our students over the coming years.
“Our solar-battery solution also allows for a number of educational opportunities for students in a growing area of technology that will lead to many different career pathways in the future.
“Caring for our environment is another way we can serve the community and honour God.’’