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QLD ahead of the pack on solar power


by Energy Matters

Queensland is leading the push to install solar photovoltaic energy systems on the roofs of every school in the state, outstripping the federal government in its promise to make every Australian school a solar school by 2015.

Premier Anna Bligh launched the program, labelled the first of its kind in Australia, as part of the government's commitment to fight climate change.
The federal government’s National Solar Schools Program begins on July 1, 2008. Every school in the nation will be eligible for a $50,000 grant to install solar panels, solar hot water systems, rainwater tanks and other energy efficient measures.

But Ms Bligh said all 1,251 public schools in Queensland would receive solar power in the next three years. Ten schools will install solar panels and other devices next month when the plan begins.

Circuit timers to turn off non-essential power at night and "smart meters", which monitor energy use will be part of the package.

It is estimated that each solar panel will cut $800 per year off each solar school’s electricity bill, and Ms Bligh expects the plan to reduce Queensland’s energy consumption by 13 percent once every school has solar systems installed.

Ms Bligh said the $60 million outlay would be recovered in the long-term savings the solar panels, and other measures, generated.
"In a state famous for its sunshine, it makes sense to invest in this renewable technology," she said.

"I want Queensland to lead the pack to be the solar state of Australia."

Ms Bligh said that students would learn about the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency in fighting climate change.

She said the initiative was about harnessing "the power of the sun" and teaching school students about their environmental obligations.

"As well as growing the solar industry, this initiative offers a great opportunity for our young people to learn about this transforming technology and what they, and their school communities, can do to help combat climate change," she said.


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