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Ten Wellington schools sign up for solar power

Ten Wellington schools sign up for solar power

The first 10 schools in Wellington selected for Genesis Energy’s Schoolgen programme have been announced this week, in a joint venture between Wellington City Council and the energy company.

A 4kW solar PV system will be installed in these 10 schools by June 2014. An additional six Wellington schools will be selected and put through the programme from July 2014 to June 2016 as part of the $288k agreement, signed last year. The Council is funding the programme through its Smart Energy Capital initiative, which aims to co-fund projects that reduce energy use and increase renewable generation.

The 10 schools are: Miramar North, Clyde Quay, Hampton Hill, Northland, Amesbury, Paparangi, Te Aro, Karori West Normal, Thorndon (all primary schools); and Newlands Intermediate.

Schoolgen funds the installation of solar generation systems and provides free curriculum-based resources, for selected schools around New Zealand. This allows the schools to generate a portion of their electricity from the sun and students can learn about electricity generation, energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate change. Schools also set up student ‘energy detectives’ who help to manage power use and look for ways to save more power.

In announcing the first 10 Wellington schools this week, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown praised the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the schools’ staff and pupils.

“This new generation faces significant climate change effects so it’s important to give our children a sense of hope with more renewable energy,” says the Mayor.

“The take-up from Wellington schools has been outstanding and it demonstrates the enthusiasm in local communities to embrace renewable energy. This also shows the Council’s commitment to working closely with businesses and schools to achieve a low-carbon economy for the city is paying off.

“Through Smart Energy Capital, we’re matching Genesis Energy’s funding dollar-for-dollar. We can help to reduce schools’ costs and encourage more to take up solar power."

Genesis Energy’s Chief Executive, Albert Brantley, said the company is supporting schools by bringing solar energy to life.

“By providing teachers with curriculum resources, we are helping to build the next generation’s understanding of energy and energy efficiency,” Mr Brantley said.

Installation of solar panels in these Wellington schools should be completed by the end of June. The second and third years of the joint agreement will include aspects of the schools’ energy management and how energy is used in homes.

There are now 66 schools around New Zealand signed up to Schoolgen with solar panels – schools must apply to Genesis Energy to join. All schools are able to access the online student and teacher resources on renewable energy atwww.schoolgen.co.nz

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