Australian Universities Blow Solar Power Opportunities

Jon Capistrano
Jon Capistrano
October 20, 2016

A new report estimates the electricity consumption of Australia’s universities has almost doubled in the last 10 years and it will only increase according to Energy Matters.

The Australian reports research from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation or CFEC in dictating Australia’s universities are spending up to $720 million every year on electricity and missing out on opportunities to lower energy costs by way of the implementation of solar panels and energy efficiency strategies.

The decreasing performance is partly due to the expanding student numbers and power-hungry research facilities. But it is also a result of conservative infrastructure agendas and a debt-averse mindset, according to The Australian’s John Ross.

Some Australian Universities have already embraced and adopted solar power and are now reaping the benefits.

A 150kW solar power system installed at the University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre is generating 197 megawatt/hours of clean electricity every year and saving the university approximately $31, 300 annually.

Last year, a 100kW installation on Wilson Hall at the University of Melbourne was built and completed. The solar power system provides 124.8-megawatt hours of clean energy every year. Additionally, the solar power system is offsetting about 105 tonnes of carbon emission every year. The University of Melbourne has more solar capacity on the way.

Other Australian institutions that haven’t rolled out solar projects are in the process of implementing solar changes, this includes the University of Queensland and the University of New England.

If a university wants to go solar, the school doesn’t necessarily mean spending a significant amount of money up front or going into a loan to do so. Universities can opt for a solar Power Purchase Agreement as an option.

The PPA is a long-term contract to purchase electricity generated by a solar power system installed on the user or client’s premises. It usually involves zero capital outlay. PPA also gets rid of the burden of ownership.

Click here to read the story on Energy Matters

Featured Image Credit: Jeffrey Pohlmann

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