Bayside College

Bayside College is a public, multi-campus, co-educational P-12 school in Melbourne, Australia.

In 2019, a 200kW clean energy solution comprising 599 solar panels and 6 inverters was installed at Bayside College, spread across both the Paisley and Altona North Campuses.

Bayside College


Customer name:

Bayside College, Victorian Department of Education and Training


Altona North (VIC 3025) and Newport (VIC 3025)


November 2019

System size:

Altona North Campus 99.66 kW, Paisley Campus 98.01 kW

Case Study

Students and staff at Bayside College were becoming increasingly aware of the need to do more to address the impact that carbon intensive energy usage has on the environment. “So it became a college priority to look at ways to better care for the environment and a renewable energy system was certainly one way we felt we could make a difference,” recalls Nolene Symons, Bayside College Campus Principal.

Annual energy costs of $150k were a significant drain on college finances. And acquiring and installing rooftop solar systems also needed to meet Victorian Government public school procurement requirements.

In partnership with Green Square Capital Solutions, Planet Ark Power worked hand-in-hand with the Bayside College senior leadership team to develop an innovative rental solution that successfully satisfies departmental guidelines – creating a hassle-free template for other schools to follow.

Under Planet Ark Power’s unique rental agreement, drawn up to meet Victorian Government procurement requirements, the solar systems are owned by contracted third-party energy finance consultancy, Green Squares Capital Solutions and designed, installed, operated and maintained by Planet Ark Power, at no capital cost to the college.

“We’ve entered into a rental agreement that has no upfront costs,” says Bayside College Principal, Andrew Harnett. “Planet Ark Power operates and maintains the systems, and the rent we’re paying is less than the cost of the electricity we’re offsetting! Working with Planet Ark Power has been a wonderful experience. There’s been little disruption to the school. They are organized, efficient, and know what they’re talking about. They’ve been very supportive.”

Bayside College’s system is on track to generate 167,000 kWh of electricity annually, adding up to 3,882,000 kWh over the next 25 years. That’s a reduction of 133 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year – the equivalent of planting 444 trees over the life of the system.

System Size

  • Bayside College Paisley Campus, Newport
    98.01kW, 297 solar panels, 3 inverters
  • Bayside College Altona North Campus
    99.66kW, 302 solar panels, 3 inverters

College Principal Harnett is very pleased with the decision to install a Planet Ark Power system. “The cost-benefit outlined in the initial report alone was a no-brainer. In the first 12 months we’re looking at a 38% saving in our electricity bills and significantly reducing our annual carbon emissions by 133 tons, which our students are very excited about.”

“One of the compelling reasons for choosing Planet Ark Power was that they take care of the operation and maintenance of the rooftop solar systems which is proving to be very beneficial. “The school really has very little to do,” says Campus Principal Symons. “If something goes wrong, it gets fixed by Planet Ark Power.”

Students and staff have also been very supportive of the initiative, according to Campus Principal, Milan Matejin, who says the green energy system allows the college to be a positive environmental example in its community. Importantly, we also now have access to our energy use data, so we can see where more savings can be made.” Bayside teachers are also incorporating the real-time measurement of energy usage into a number of different learning areas. Campus Principal Matejin hopes this will create a culture shift, making staff and students all think twice before turning heating or cooling on at the slightest change in temperature.

Students inspired

One student explained the impact of the school’s new renewable energy system. “We’re more aware of what’s happening with the climate. When we hear about it we start to worry. To be implementing solar power tells us that maybe things won’t be as bad as we think they will be in the future. It gives us hope, and that’s what we need.”

“Since the installation, the on-going support by Planet Ark Power has been amazing,” reports Principal Symons. “A big plus for us has been their on-going communication, assistance and support. It gives us great comfort knowing that they are monitoring the system on a daily basis and are able to quickly pick up issues, if any arise.”

Educational facilities have plenty of under-utilised roof space that can generate financial and environmental benefits from harnessing the sun’s energy. Planet Ark Power and Bayside College have paved the way for other Victorian schools to embrace the use of cheap, renewable energy to reduce environmental impacts and earn instant cash-flow positive returns. The unique, hassle-free process developed by Planet Ark Power and Green Squares Capital Solutions allows all Victorian schools to enjoy the significant rewards on offer. Planet Ark Power is ready and able to help your school take immediate, affordable action to help combat climate change while investing the savings in better funded educational services.

Bayside College Solar Installation
Bayside College Solar Installation

We entered into a rental agreement that has no upfront costs. They maintain and operate the system and the rent we’re paying is less than the cost of the electricity we’re offsetting. The cost benefit to the school is a no-brainer – it just made sense to us. We want to be drawing as little electricity from the grid as we possibly can, producing electricity in a sustainable way and returning electricity to the grid when we can.

Andrew Harnett, Bayside College Principal.