Tathra Public School goes solar: ‘It’s helping the world’

Community energy is behind the installation of over 50 solar panels atop Tathra Public School.

The school’s environment minister Ruby O’Leary is passionate about recycling, and said the pupils are excited to learn more about renewable energy.

“It’s helping the world to reduce bad energy,” the Year 6 pupil said.

The school’s principal Lisa Freedman said the project shows what can be done when a community works towards a common goal.

“It’s not only the benefits of having the panels, but all the community groups working together,” she said.

After 18 months the project was completed with funding from the town’s community solar farm, the Enduro mountain bike event, a community concert and a NSW Department of Education grant.

“This has been a real community thing,” Clean Energy for Eternity’s Matthew Nott said as the school was fitted with a 17 kilowatt system.

The organisation was invited to speak at a renewable energy forum at the University of Canberra on Friday, discussing energy, transport, built environment and agriculture emissions, with Australian National University engineering professor Andrew Blakers keynote speaker.

The Canberra Urban and Regional Futures’ forum is held each year, focusing on sustainable solutions for transforming to a carbon neutral society.

Dr Nott’s key focus at the forum was to discuss CEFE’s LifeSaving Energy program, which began in 2007 with solar panels and a wind turbine installed on the roof of Tathra Surf Club.

The campaign aims to have every surf club in Australia using renewable energy, and Dr Nott is hoping Batemans Bay will next to become involved.

“I want to use this conference to move it to a national campaign, which all started in South East NSW,” he said.

“There’s also nine rural fire brigades in the ACT, and we will talk about getting them set up with solar panels.

“My message to Canberra is that it was easy to raise funds for the surf club because it is a very positive thing for the community.”