19 Sep 2013
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Solar energy for Wellington schools

By Rebecca Wood

Teachers and students in 16 Wellington schools will be soon able to analyse their solar energy usage online thanks to a new joint venture between Wellington City Council and Genesis Energy.

The new agreement signed this week, as part of the Council’s Smart Energy Capital initiative and Genesis Energy’s Schoolgen programme, will expand the uptake of solar energy in the capital.

It will see solar photovoltaic panels installed in eight primary or intermediate schools in the first year, with four more schools in each of the following two years.

Schools will be able to generate a portion of their electricity from the sun, and the Schoolgen programme will help students learn about solar energy, energy efficiency and climate change.

Celia Wade-Brown, Wellington Mayor, says through Smart Energy Capital, the council can help to reduce school costs and encourage more communities to take up solar power.

Genesis Energy’s chief executive, Albert Brantley, says the Schoolgen programme plays a significant role in the organisation’s community investment activities.

"As a company we are keen to support schools in bringing the concept of solar energy to life. By providing the schools and specifically the teachers with curriculum-based resources, we are helping them to build the next generation's understanding of energy and energy efficiency."

The Schoolgen programme includes free, curriculum-linked teaching resources, such as e-books, and online data, that can be used by primary or intermediate schools to explore electricity generation, energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate change. Schoolgen’s two permanent environmental educators work with teachers and students at the existing 50 Schoolgen schools plus associated ‘buddy schools’. Schools must apply to Genesis Energy to join the programme.

The second and third years of the joint agreement will include aspects of the schools’ energy management and how energy is used in the home.

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