Excitement is high at St Paul’s School in Bald Hills, Brisbane, Queensland; 1,846 solar panels have been installed on rooftops at the school, achieving enormous cost savings and benefits. The 627kw project in its first year is projected to save St Paul’s hundreds of thousands of dollars. The savings and benefits will continue to grow into a magnificent long-term investment.
With power costs skyrocketing over the past few years, Principal Dr Paul Browning decided it was time for St Paul’s school to investigate cost savings. Six suppliers were approached for quotations. Most quotes only offered solar panels to reduce St Paul’s consumption profile by an insignificant 5%. In contrast, Energa in-person consultative process; thorough energy profile analysis by an engineer; detailed proposal featuring smart technology; and a much higher projected saving; stood out from the crowd.
Energa’s qualified engineer and their personalised and comprehensive level of service has saved the school in excess of 50% in actual energy costs to date. Energa achieved this remarkable reduction with a four-step approach:
How Energa helped St Paul’s save energy and money in four easy steps
1. Firstly, Energa’s team met with the school to understand at a deeper level what the school ultimately wanted to achieve, not just now but also in the future, followed by detailed investigation into the current situation to identify the real, underlying issues.
2. Secondly, using these insights, Energa restructured how the school was billed and introduced more stakeholders to negotiate further cost reductions. This produced savings of 18%, simply through identifying and implementing a new tariff structure.
3. Next, Energa studied the power the school was generating and identified areas of the school requiring more or less energy. For example, Energa discovered that the administration department consumed more power than the school’s hall. With this knowledge and by installing Energa’s products, St Paul’s is able to move power from the hall to the administration area when most needed. This was achieved through transformers that can move energy virtually around the school and custom-designed controls, exclusively available through Energa.
4. Fourthly, Energa installed solar panels, enhanced with Solar Edge software and technology. There are many advantages of installing Solar Edge, including:
- Produce more renewable energy from each solar panel
- Higher levels of safety
- Solar panel visualisation and analytics
- Reliable communication and monitoring
How does Solar Edge help reduce energy costs?
Solar Edge improves solar panel efficiency in many ways. For example when leaves settle on a solar panel or if they get dirty, the problematic panels won’t affect the entire string of panels. Thanks to Energa and Solar Edge, the solar system will continue to operate, mitigating the loss from weaker panels, ensuring they do not affect the performance of stronger ones.
If there is a problem, a notification will be sent to Energa and the school’s Facility Manager so that appropriate action can be taken. Regular monitoring and fast maintenance also reduces the risk of fire.
The data from each solar panel can be monitored in the mobile app or the web portal, enabling problems and defects to be traced in real-time, helping to keep your energy more efficient and your buildings safer.
Energa also installed smart controls regarding hot water management. The system can see when it has power available and will know to heat the school’s hot water cylinders when an abundance of power available, such as during the middle of the day when the sun is strongest. The system can see how much energy it can generate at any point in time and auto-optimise itself.
Thinking to the future with electric vehicles
Energa has a strong relationship with the school, so they will make further recommendations as the energy landscape changes and the school’s needs change. Power saving strategies for the future include adding more solar panels as the school grows, and additional batteries as they become more affordable.
The system has been designed by Energa to be flexible and scalable. So more solar energy can be easily added and integrated with other smart monitoring and load balancing controls, as usage and technology changes.
“The solar panels project at the school has realised immediate gains for us in several areas. Our annual electricity bill has fallen from $600,000 to less than $250,000. Against installation costs of about $1.25m, we are on a path to recover that in the coming years. We can then redirect funds to improve outcomes for our students and staff. We have scope to install more solar panels and we expect to do that in the near future.” Dr Paul Browning, Principal of St Paul’s School
For example, according to Energetics, the number of electric vehicles is going to increase in Australia, with conservative estimates suggesting 40-60% of new vehicle sales will be electric by 2050. St Paul’s school currently manages 127 acres with full-time gardeners who currently use petroleum-fuelled golf buggies. The school could potentially use electric vehicles, incorporating recharging stations instead of relying on petrol. Innovating and growing St Paul’s renewable energy ecosystem is the long-term goal.
Reducing their carbon footprint by more than 35T
Carbon offsets can be viewed on Energa’s dashboard. So the school can see at a glance how much carbon dioxide they are saving from entering the atmosphere. During the short period of running and commissioning they have already saved 35 tons, which is a huge amount to have reached already.
St Paul’s School now benefits from having their own power source and will continue to enjoy significant savings on electricity, while helping care for the planet and its future generations.
Want to know more?
If you would also like to discuss how you can achieve energy savings and become a cleaner, greener school, organisation or company, contact Energa today. Simply fill in the form below and one of our friendly staff will be in contact. We prefer talking with people over emailing, so please indicate your preferred day and time for a call. We look forward to talking with you soon!