Tucked away on the Sunshine Coast, an hour north of Brisbane, is a prep to Year 12 college that is making big strides in sustainability. Matthew Flinders Anglican College, a school of around 1,300 students, has installed a 372kW solar energy system across their campuses, saving 445 tonnes of CO2-e (carbon dioxide equivalent) from entering the atmosphere in its first year alone. This is comparable to planting 64 trees or taking 173 cars off the road for the year.
The installation is projected to save 10,350 tonnes of CO2-e from entering the atmosphere over 25 years, which is the equivalent of planting 1,479 trees or taking 4,310 cars off the road for a year.
It’s not just the environmental benefits of the solar system that are impressing the eco-conscious school; the installation is saving them 40% on their energy bills a year. Those savings can be reinvested into better facilities and care for students and teachers, setting a great example for their community and inspiring other schools in the area.
The principal of Matthew Flinders Anglican College, Stuart Meade, is happy with the results.
“Having our solar panels on the roof [means] not only being able to save some money for the school and the parents, but to also show the students about the way of the future and the fact that it is about being responsible and environmentally sustainable,” said Meade.
The solar energy system, made up of 1,158 solar panels, is one of the largest school installations in Australia and certainly the largest in Queensland. The system was installed and is monitored around the clock by Planet Ark Power. A sister organisation to Planet Ark, one of the points of difference for this solar engineering and technology company is their ability to monitor the systems 24/7 to ensure optimal performance.
Sharon Verrinder, Finance Director at Matthew Flinders Anglican College, says they see the project as a long-term partnership.
“Not only are [Planet Ark Power’s] innovators committed to cleaner energy sources, they are at the cutting edge of information and advice with respect to advancing technologies,” said Verrinder.
Planet Ark Power’s new technology has been recognised globally for its innovation and potential to accelerate our transition to a clean energy world. The Brisbane-based company won the coveted award for ‘Intelligent Grids, Platforms and Cyber Security’ at the Start Up Energy Transition Awards in April 2019, held in Berlin by the German Energy Agency and the World Energy Council.
Following their exciting win, Planet Ark Power was invited to present their revolutionary technology at the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi in September 2019. The Congress is the world’s largest and most influential energy event, bringing together policymakers, ministers, CEOs and industry experts from all around the globe to discuss important developments in the energy sector.
Using artificial intelligence and advanced power electronics, Planet Ark Power’s voltage management system, ‘elexsys’, facilitates large-scale rooftop solar power generation, creating urban solar farms and community microgrids.
As a client of Planet Ark Power, Matthews Flinders Anglican College will be one of the first to have access to this world-leading technology once it becomes available to schools and businesses in the near future. If the college chooses to integrate the technology into their existing installation, they should see a huge increase in the amount of energy they are able to sell back to the grid, delivering a quicker return on investment.