A program intended to boost deployment of grid-connected solar power in Australian schools is shutting two years earlier than planned, but that doesn’t mean opportunities have quite vanished. Grants through the National Solar School Program (NSSP) will be available for two more school years, the government said, and a company that does the installations is encouraging schools to apply now for the 2011-2012 school year.
According to solar developer Energy Matters, schools are eligible to receive grant money depending on the size of their solar installation. Those installing a 2-kilowatt (kW) or larger system will receive up to $50,000, while those under the 2-kW mark will receive up to $30,000. The program is open to primary and secondary schools, making kindergartens, early childhood centers, preschools, colleges and universities ineligible.
Aside from the connected solar power, the NSSP also offers renewable energy systems such as solar or heat pump water systems and other modes of renewable energy generation such as wind turbines and small hydro power generators. The NSSP will also help fund energy efficiency items such as automatic sliding doors, ceiling fans, energy efficient lighting and windows, external shade awnings, solar thermals space heating tanks, rainwater tanks and more.
Besides affording these schools with renewable energy and lowering their carbon impact, Australia hopes the program will help educate children about renewable energy and environmental stewardship.