Solar Upgrades For ACT Public Housing, First Batteries For Schools

Margaret Hendry School solar installation

Image: Google Earth

The ACT Government is to fast-track solar power and sustainability upgrades for public and community housing, and a couple of public schools will get energy storage systems.

A multi-unit property in Kaleen, Common Ground Gungahlin and another 10 properties leased to community organisations will be beneficiaries of the $365,000 project that includes draught proofing and the installation rooftop solar panels.

 “This project will deliver lower electricity costs for people in our community who are most in need of support, particularly during the coming winter when electricity bills often grow,” stated Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Yvette Berry.

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said the projects will also assist the ACT in its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero. The ACT set a goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2020, one it achieved through purchases from solar and wind farms within the Territory’s borders and four other states. The Territory’s government has also set a goal of achieving zero net emissions by 2045, with an interim goal of cutting emissions by 50 to 60 per cent below 1990 levels by 2025.

Solar Battery Trial For Schools

In other related news out of Canberra, two public schools will be fitted with solar batteries.

40-kilowatt 1 energy storage systems will be installed at Margaret Hendry and Caroline Chisholm schools, which will enable electricity from onsite rooftop solar energy generation to be stored for use in peak electricity demand periods.

Margaret Hendry School in the suburb of Taylor was the ACT’s first zero-emissions school2, achieved in part through a 100kW solar power system and electric-boosted solar hot water. Caroline Chisolm School in Chisholm also has a 100kW system that generates equivalent of around 22% of the school’s electricity. Its system has been operating since 2015.

Minister Rattenbury says the $100,000 energy storage project is a test case for the Government.

“The project will provide us with valuable data on how to optimise the use of batteries to meet energy needs at the various schools in the ACT,” he said.

Minister Berry stated around $850,000 has been invested since 2018 to expand solar capacity in schools in preparation for batteries, and a further $250,000 will be spent on boosting solar panel installations on new schools


  1. It’s not clear if “kilowatt” was meant to be “kilowatt-hour”
  2. The ACT’s second zero-emissions school is currently being built in Molonglo Valley, and will be completed in 2021
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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