|Solar School - Pittwater High, NSW|
This adventurous project will involve setting up one thousand solar panels to power the school. Pittwater High would become a power station through energy self-sufficiency using the renewable energy of the sun.
Our immediate goal has been reached in setting up 72 panels providing roughly enough energy to power 10 classrooms all year round or 3 family sized homes. We are aiming to buid on this by 200 - 250 panels each year.
If a school can reduce its carbon footprint and become renewable energy self-sufficient then so can a hospital, a factory, a multi-storey building, a shopping centre or any carbon sourced power user.
The motivation behind the project is to demonstrate to all Australians that today we can begin the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and immediately start to make a difference for the future world our children will inherit from us in the next 20 to 40 years. Energy will be uploaded into the state grid during non-school days, representing 45% of the year (163 days), including 40 days of peak solar summer time.
Pittwater High has taken an active stand on the issue of global warming and climate change. We have taken this because we believe that the only way to ensure that our students have a sustainable future is to take action now and show our communities and our nation that a zero ecological footprint approach is possible and indeed necessary in the medium term for the sustainability of all human activities. Overwhelming scientific evidence suggests that our planet is approaching a series of critical 'tipping-points' in terms of the survival of our current natural systems.
At Pittwater, our interest was initially generated by a wonderful Planet Pittwater Student Day held in early June, which our prefects with staff and parent support organised. A Climate Change evening event for parents and members of the community was also held. At both events the overwhelming message was that we have enough consistent scientific data to substantiate the reality of global warming; it is now time to take action. As an educational community we in particular have a responsibility to lead the way in demonstrating a real response to this global challenge. Paralleling and supporting Pittwater's preparations for its Planet Pittwater day was strong parent support for the school to lead the way in demonstrating a solutions-oriented approach to minimising the school's carbon footprint. A parent and community team was established to discuss replacing the school's current coal sourced generated electric power with renewable solar generated power - this led to the adventurous concept of Pittwater High becoming a power station through energy self-sufficiency using the renewable energy of the sun.
This bold project is not commercially viable and can only be achieved through family and community support, and sponsorship. The current 72 panels provide 10.56kW of power (roughly enough to power 10 classrooms all year round or 3 family sized homes). Our calculations indicate that if Pittwater High was totally reliant on renewable energy we would save 775kg of CO2 emissions each week or 275 tonnes per year - placing an additional 250 panels per year would save approximately 100 kg of CO2 emissions each week.
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