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Sustainable Schools - School Environmental Management Plan

Grid Feeding Photovoltaic Cells

WHY HAS BOURNDA EEC INVESTED IN PHOTOVOLTAIC PANELS?

Solar panels are use at Bournda EECEnergy can come from either renewable or non-renewable sources. The majority of Australia’s electricity comes from using diminishing stocks of coal, a fossil fuel. The burning of coal causes damage to the environment by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Solar panels are an ideal source of renewable energy, as they do not discharge noise or pollutants into the environment. This factor is of significance in a time when greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly increasing.

Bournda EEC has installed solar panels manufactured by Pacific Solar, a high tech spin-off company from the University of New South Wales. With three operating solar panels located on a north-facing roof, Bournda EEC can capture some of the sun’s abundant energy, lowering its demand for grid electricity.

The sunlight hitting the Earth’s surface in one hour is enough to supply man’s entire energy needs for a year - (SEDA–Sustainable Energy Development Authority)

WHAT DO THEY DO AND HOW DO THEY WORK?

Solar energy comes from the sun. Solar collectors such as photovoltaic (PV) cells use the sunlight to make electricity. When the sun hits the PV cell, the little particles of light excite electrons in the cell and cause them to flow. Electricity is the flow of electrons. The solar collectors (panels) convert the maximum amount of sunlight into energy (or direct current electricity). An inverter, which is attached to the panels, converts this direct current to alternating current to make it compatible with grid electricity.

Students can explore the Plug & Power software connected to the solar panels and study the rates of electricity being generated and the subsequent saving of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Students assessing solar power output

BENEFITS TO THE EEC AND THE ENVIRONMENT

There are a number of reasons why Bournda EEC adopts this sustainable approach. These are:

  1. Bournda EEC is conserving the use of non-renewable energy resources.
  2. The panels assist in minimising harmful, excessive greenhouse gas emissions (CO2).
  3. Students increase their environmental awareness and their role in a sustainable future.
  4. Bournda EEC saves from lower electricity bills enabling funds to be invested in the ‘Pure Green’ program where green energy is created from environmentally friendly sources that do not pollute the environment.Bournda EEC acknowledges the rebate given by SEDA (Sustainable Energy Development Authority) following the installation of the solar panels.

These panels feed directly into the grid via Country Energy.


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