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Comet Bay Primary School’s power costs reduced and panels will soon pay for themselves, says principal

Carla Hildebrandt / Mandurah Mail / 4 April

Main image: Future thinking: Arial view of Comet Bay Primary School and its solar panels. Image: Supplied

Comet Bay Primary School’s solar panels have reduced Summer power costs by 70 percent, according to school principal Graeme Watson.

The school had over 350 solar panels installed in 2016 as a learning tool for students, but also as a sustainability effort.

“This is not only great for our environment, but it has reduced power costs allowing our savings to be redirected to student learning,” Mr Watson said.

“We have a supportive P&C and school board who allowed us to investigate the idea and jumped behind the project.”

After about two years of planning, the Education Department approved the project that cost $120,000.

“Luckily we got the department on side and they supported us through it…and hopefully other schools will jump on board too,” Mr Watson said.

Mr Watson said recent figures reveal the school is mostly self-sufficient between 10am and 2pm from September to April, requiring only minimal power from the grid.

“In Summer we pay only 30 percent of what we used to, and in winter, we pay about half,” he said.

Mr Watson said each classroom had access to a website that showed real-time data on how much solar and grid power was being used as well as how much energy was being saved.

“We want to teach kids about sustainability, and let them be part of the changes,” he said.

The school has already made enough energy to power 23 households for one year.

In four to five years, the school predicts that the solar panels would have paid for themselves.

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