Hot on the heels of launching his state’s Emerging Energy Program, New South Wales energy minister Don Harwin has announced government plans to buy up to 900 smart battery systems with a total of 13MW of capacity to install alongside rooftop solar on the state’s school’s and hospitals.
The battery purchasing round was announced on Friday as part of a $20 million program to maximise the use of solar power systems installed in key government buildings. Round one is targeting education and health, which account for 45 per cent of public sector electricity demand in peak periods.
Harwin said his Coalition government was also accelerating the roll-out of rooftop solar throughout the state, through its target for government buildings to generate 25,000MWh of solar a year by 2021, and 55,000MWh a year by 2024.
“By pairing smart battery systems and rooftop solar, participating schools and hospitals can lower their electricity costs by up to $40,000 a year and at the same time strengthen the security of the grid in peak events and during energy emergencies,” he said.
“Electricity bill savings will be achieved from avoiding peak electricity charges and making energy from the batteries available to the grid, particularly in times of high demand.
“The combined electricity use of state-owned sites accounts for 2.7 per cent of NSW’s daily energy consumption so the government has a major opportunity to lead by example and demonstrate how capitalising on the latest advances in smart batteries can save electricity and money.”
The Minister said after the initial round of funding, the battery program could be extended to other government agencies, depending on available funding and uptake rates.
“This program combined with solar has the potential to cut power bills by thousands of dollars, money which could be used for more beds and books in our hospitals and schools.”
Harwin said a considerable number of public schools and hospitals had already installed solar systems across regional and metropolitan NSW, making them well placed to add battery storage, and further reduce their drain on the grid.
“The combined electricity use of government buildings, especially public schools and hospitals, significantly adds to the daily load of the electricity network in NSW.”
Just this week it was revealed that NSW-based company Hivve Technology had successfully taken an entire classroom off-grid at a Brisbane state school, using its solar and battery powered modular building technology.