10 July 2023

Oak Flats Public School switches on to saving money and the environment

Start the conversation
Students building a solar powered car at Oak Flats Public School.

Oak Flats Public School students Mia and Patrick building their solar-powered car. Photos: Shellharbour City Council.

Oak Flats Public School is a shining example of how schools can help cut their carbon footprint and save money by switching to solar energy.

The school is the first in Shellharbour to join Shellharbour City Council’s pilot of the Solar my School program, which helps schools to install solar power.

The installation of a 29 kW system at the school will reduce its energy bills by 24 per cent and reduce carbon emissions by 37 tonnes per year.

That’s enough to power the equivalent of 208 school computers or seven Australian homes. It’s also the equivalent of taking 13 cars off the road each year.

READ ALSO Cheaper childcare as new subsidies for early education come into play

To celebrate the completion of installation, students spent the last day of the school term building and racing solar cars.

Shellharbour Council was the second regional council in Australia to join the Solar my School program. Funding for the pilot program was provided as part of the council’s Small Environmental Projects Fund.

Shellharbour Mayor Chris Homer said he was thrilled that the school decided to participate, adding that the initiative supported council’s goal of reaching its net-zero target for the community by 2050.

“Our council is delivering on its strong commitment to the protection of our environment,” Cr Homer said.

Group of students holding solar powered cars.

Shellharbour Mayor Chris Homer (centre) with project facilitator Michael Richards and students showing their solar-powered cars.

“We’ve committed to achieving net-zero emissions for council operations by 2035, and net-zero emissions for the community by 2050.

“Schools are ideal for solar power. They have large roof spaces and are big daytime consumers of electricity.

“I commend Oak Flats Public School on its enthusiasm and commitment to the environment. By going solar, the school will save money, help the environment and support students to learn about clean, locally produced renewable energy.

“Solar my School is an innovative solution for reducing local environmental impacts and promoting the vital importance of a clean green energy future.”

READ ALSO New regional music body boss calls for music to return to the heart of primary school classrooms

The Solar my School team works with schools to identify suitably sized solar power systems, helps secure funding to pay for installation, and provides renewable energy education to students and staff.

Lake Illawarra South Public School is following the lead of Oak Flats and will be installing its 41 kW solar system during the current school holidays.

Solar my School was founded in 2017 by Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils. The program is now licensed to other councils and organisations to support schools in going solar powered.

Bondi Beach Public School joined the program in 2020 and now sports the largest solar power systems in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. Over its lifetime, the 70 kW system will help save the school more than $500,000 on electricity bills and avoid 2300 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Illawarra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Illawarra stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.