Solar Farm for Sustainability

Across the December holiday period, St Mark’s installed a large array of solar panels across the roof of the Alan Cadby Senior Academic Centre in what has been described as a ‘Solar Farm’ given the extensive number of panels.

The solar panels will generate approximately 20% of the school’s electricity usage and at full capacity in summertime, will cover just under one third of the electrical energy capacity of the School. Over the school holidays, when the consumption of electricity at the School is minimal, we will return electricity back to the grid.

The St Mark’s Strategic Plan has established ‘Stewardship and Sustainability’ as one of the core focus areas. One of our priorities is to lead in environmental responsibility and sustainability.

Our new Clean Energy Council accredited system is the best on the market. The Solar Farm has a 100kW capacity with a 150kW inverter for future expansion. Whilst there are no batteries due to the current expensive cost, when the price drops in the future, the system is ready to be connected to the battery system.

The Senior Academic Centre was chosen as the most appropriate placement because there is enough electrical infrastructure to run the system without being forced to complete a major electrical upgrade and there is room for the system to be expanded. The roof of this building is facing north and is therefore ideal for maximum energy production.

Teachers at St Mark’s are looking forward to being able to involve students once the monitoring system is complete. This will enable teachers to show students the production of energy from the solar panels compared with electrical consumption of the School. It is a fantastic real-life example, educating students on how we can reduce our carbon footprint towards the greater goal of sustainability.