RACE TO THE TOP FOR SOLAR IN SCHOOLS
Parents in Boothby and across the country welcome the announcement from Senator Sarah Hanson-Young today that she has pledged support for solar and batteries in schools and early childhood centres.
“More than seventy candidates from across the political spectrum have signed onto the Solar Our Schools pledge in the last two weeks, including Hon Warren Entsch MP, and Labor and Liberal candidates,” said Nic Seton, CEO of Australian Parents for Climate Action.
“As well as pledging Senator Hanson-Young’s support, today the Greens are announcing their own Solar Our Schools national policy, which exceeds our original ask. Now it’s a race to the top for candidates and parties to better this policy commitment to provide clean, free energy in schools.
“Energy bills are rising, and this is going to eat into the education budget. Solar and batteries in schools will save schools money in power bills to put towards more teachers and educational resources.”
Figures from Beyond Zero Emissions’ Million Jobs Plan shows large schools can save $114,000 in annual energy bills and $12,700 in small schools per year. These savings will only increase as energy prices continue to rise, as the Australian Energy Market Operator is indicating.
In Western Australia, independent candidate Kate Chaney has also incorporated solar on schools into her own platform as a result of our pledge. Now we need the ALP and Coalition to make their own Solar Our Schools policy announcements.
Former Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein endorsed the Solar Our Schools push when he adopted a $5 million Renewable Energy Fund for Tasmanian schools, and NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has also swung her support behind it by establishing a trial program of 100 schools getting solar and batteries and becoming virtual power plants. And Western Australia’s McGowan government has also invested in virtual power plant trials for schools.
The state and territory governments alone cannot fund solar and batteries in all schools. It needs federal government investment now, so communities don't miss out on the clean, free energy solar on schools can provide. For instance the discussions we have had with the Northern Territory government, they would love to put solar and batteries in schools, and it would be a huge benefit to remote community schools, but they need federal funding to roll this out.
Solar Our Schools will create 7000 jobs across Australia in renewable energy, and the energy savings from schools could employ 4000 more teachers, addressing our national teacher shortage.
“I’m excited about this policy because the money saved in electricity bills would mean our school could divert savings towards providing shade cover for the children, and staff can run the air conditioning on hot days without concern for the energy costs,” said local mother-of-two Andrea van Eyk
“The pandemic showed me how stretched our Early Childhood Sector is, so solar and batteries to help childcare and schools to go to renewables will bring more money back in sectors that desperately need it,” said local mother Claire Cahalan
“My daughter has cried herself to sleep worrying about climate change, and there is nothing more powerful than making the places our kids go to learn and grow be examples of how we can benefit from renewable energy making our community safer, and more resilient, and more prosperous,” said local mother-of-two Rosie Morison
FOR FURTHER MEDIA COMMENT:
Nic Seton, CEO Australian Parents for Climate Action, 0407 638 973
For coordination with spokespeople assistance contact Heidi Lee Douglas, Communications and Campaign Director 0401 092 570
Photos of candidates signing the pledge, and photos of candidates who have signed the pledge, can be found here: LINK
The full list of candidates who have signed the pledge can be found: https://www.ap4ca.org/completed_candidates_pledges
The pledge states:
I ........................ pledge that, if elected, I will support the rollout of solar and batteries for schools and early childhood centres in my electorate; and if elected I will also support the rollout of solar and batteries in schools and early childhood centres across Australia.
AP4CA do not endorse the party or candidate, instead, we celebrate their support for the Solar Our Schools policy.
AP4CA is non-partisan, so we will also encourage other candidates in the electorate to support Solar Our Schools.We aim to make climate action a non-partisan issue and want to create a race to the top in embracing shovel-ready climate solutions.
More information about Solar Our Schools can be found here: https://www.ap4ca.org/joinsolarourschools