Victoria’s Antonio Park Primary School students are seeing green with a new solar panel power system becoming the latest addition to the school’s environmentally friendly facilities.

The state-of-the-art system donated by Solgen Energy Group has been officially unveiled after innovative grade 5 student Olivia Murley won the 2016 Brickworks Living Building Challenge’s design competition for primary school students.

The primary school competition called for innovative sustainable ideas for a new shopping centre to form part of Frasers Property Australia’s mixed-use Burwood Brickworks project.

Olivia’s winning entry included many creative ideas, such as installing funnels on the corner of the shopping centre’s roof to capture water to be stored in underground water tanks.

The solar panels will reduce the school’s reliance on the power grid and were the main prize in the school’s competition. The new 5 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system was supplied and installed by Solgen Energy Group, a sponsor of the competition.

David Naismith, Solgen’s Executive General Manager, said the system will generate enough solar energy to power up to four classrooms.

“It will help improve energy efficiency, reducing energy consumption from the grid thus saving electricity costs. The amount of power generated is the equivalent of removing 32 cars from Australian roads each year in CO2 savings,” he said.

“Through integrated monitoring that we installed with the system, teachers and students can learn more about renewable energy and how it works. The technology can be used as a teaching tool for students in a variety of subjects.”

Antonio Park Primary School vice-principal Annette Hayes said the large capacity solar panels will complement the school’s existing sustainable facilities and practices.

“We have huge water tanks that supply irrigation to our gardens and oval and flush our toilets, we compost all of the students’ vegetable waste and use it on our gardens, we have animals on-site including goats and chickens that the students care for to teach them animal husbandry, we recycle all of our paper and cardboard waste,” she said.

“This solar panel system will enable the school to collect solar power to generate electricity for the school and the local power grid. The students will be able to see the data produced by this system and use it in their curriculum to determine how electrical power can be generated by solar panels and thus assist a more sustainable future.”

She said teaching young people about sustainability has never been more important.

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