Hillbrook Anglican School is a thriving coeducational high school with 810 students where learning is approached with enthusiasm and creativity. They are one of the first schools in Australia to embrace circular economy, and to embed these principles into the curriculum. Supporting the philosophy, Hillbrook’s goal is to make operations 90% circular by 2030 and be net zero for electricity supply by 2022. To achieve this, Hillbrook engaged with Planet Ark Power to design and build a solar energy solution approaching 500kW.
Whilst solar PV presents a sound financial case with an attractive return on investment, it wasn’t the only driver to implementing a clean energy solution. Solar was also a way to model behaviour – to demonstrate the circular economy to students and staff, and to set an example to the wider community. To satisfy its sustainability reporting obligations, Hillbrook insisted on a monitoring platform to measure solar generation performance, carbon emission reductions and the life cycle of materials.
Over the past 4 years, Hillbrook has invested in 496 kW of solar. The systems were implemented in 4 stages, in conjunction with new building works and renovations. As the school’s energy consumption profile changed, Planet Ark Power helped Hillbrook to tailor and engineer the best solution to help them deliver on their strategy for net-zero energy.
The solar works commenced in 2018, with the installation of a 130kW solar system, over the next 3 years and to coincide with new building and renovation works, Planet Ark Power installed a further 366kW to address the increased energy profile.
The 496kW solar PV system is one of the largest solar systems found at a secondary school anywhere in Australia. Whilst the solar system was designed and installed over 4 stages, Planet Ark Power implemented a common monitoring solution that provides a simple to use and intuitive display for the Hillbrook Community and Students.
In June 2020 the solar system was able to meet all the energy demands of Hillbrook and become net zero for the first-time during school hours. The solar system is estimated to prevent 615 tonnes of carbon emissions annually and currently exceeding the predicted modelling and delivering annual cost savings of 45%, an excellent result, considering the additional energy consumption due to extensive use of air-conditioning and ventilation systems during the COVID pandemic.
With solar having met all expectations and buoyed by their success Hillbrook with Planet Ark Power, are now investigating battery storage to maximise solar self-consumption, reduce peak demand costs and provide backup power in case of power outage; and EV Chargers to help meet its 2030 target to be carbon neutral for travel.
Reduction in power cost