A Shorten Labor Government will help Australian schools cut their energy bills and access cleaner energy by establishing a Solar Schools program to help schools access solar panels and battery storage.
The Solar Schools program will not only help schools cut their energy costs, but also deliver energy back to the grid - driving down electricity bills for households and businesses.
Scott Morrison cut schools and cut hospitals - the only thing he won't cut is pollution.
Labor's plan delivers lower energy costs and acts on climate change to deliver a better deal for the next generation.
Labor will make available up to $1 billion in finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for the rollout – benefitting up to 4,000 schools.
Solar is a smart investment for schools - annual savings from reduced electricity costs alone have been estimated to be up to $89,000 for a large school in NSW, or $15,000 for a small school.
Schools are an excellent location for solar investment and the creation of virtual power plants (VPPs), because they often don’t use energy at times of peak demand and through a large portion of summer. Schools are largely vacant for more than 150 days per year. Often demand for energy is highest when kids are not at school.
This makes schools perfect locations for solar and battery powered VPPs, to support grid reliability and lower power prices for Australian families and business.
Labor's plan will allocate up to $1 billion from our expanded Clean Energy Finance Corporation capital to establish the program - supporting the creation of VPPs through virtually linked solar and battery systems installed at schools, to deliver electricity and other services to the electricity system.
Financing will be provided through concessional loans, available for the purchase of both solar panels and battery systems, either by schools or VPP project developers.
Schools with existing solar panels and batteries will be able to use the program to upgrade to a newer or larger system that would be better for self-consumption and participation in a VPP.
In addition to financial benefits, participation will also provide teaching opportunities for schools about renewable energy and storage technology, and modern energy systems.
Labor will allow industry and schools to develop different VPP models, fostering competition and innovation in VPP design and delivery. VPP developers will have the flexibility to choose their equipment suppliers, aggregation services providers, retail partnership and customer offerings. This provides choice for school systems and encourages a competitive market to provide the best portfolio of VPP offers to customers.
The program will first be rolled out in trial form, with two to three VPPs across different regions.
The full rollout will see school VPPs established in every jurisdiction, ultimately benefitting up to 4,000 schools, supporting up to 364MW of VPP capacity, and cutting over 390,000 tonnes of pollution a year.
Labor's plan is not only great for individual schools; it will also improve the reliability of the energy grid. There will be particularly big benefits in December and January when system reliability is under pressure due to demand spikes and unscheduled unit outages at ageing plants.
All installations will be undertaken by certified installers, in compliance with the National Construction Code and the Clean Energy Council installation guide. All batteries installed will have to meet both the strict Australian Standard and the Clean Energy Council’s best practice guide, which requires certification against a range of international product standards.
The Solar Schools program will contribute to Labor’s commitment to deliver 50 per cent of generation from renewable energy sources by 2030 and help achieve Labor’s emissions reduction targets.
There would also be significant employment benefits from the program, ranging from installation and system management, to providing a boost to local battery manufacturing.
Labor has a vision and a plan for a clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy future for Australia, and our Solar Schools program is just one part of that plan.
The Liberals and Nationals are full of climate sceptics and hopelessly divided on climate change - Scott Morrison even brought a lump of coal into Parliament instead of a climate policy.
The Liberals and Nationals have pushed up power prices and pollution by undermining investment in renewable energy and backing power privatisations - and their chaos and division means industry can't adequately plan and invest in the future.
Only Labor will deliver real action on climate change and lower pollution, lower power prices and build a stronger economy.