Australia trials portable solar-powered classrooms

An Australian project aiming to power school classrooms with on-site solar PV has received almost AUD370,000 ($290,000) in government funding.

The grant from the country’s renewable energy agency ARENA will allow Hivve Technology, which has developed a portable solar-powered classroom (pictured), to undertake pilot projects in two locations in New South Wales.

The portable classrooms incorporate PV generation, real-time energy metering, CO2 metering, data capture and communications to manage energy demand and control indoor environment quality.

On average, a regular classroom consumes around 3.8 MWh per year, ARENA said. Each solar-powered classroom can generate enough electricity to power itself and two other classrooms, with a net generation of 7.6 MWh per year.

One classroom is expected to save a school around AUD3000 in annual energy costs.

The two pilot classrooms are being trialled for a year at St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School in a suburb of Sydney and at Dapto High School in Dapto.

Ivor Frischknecht, ARENA CEO, said that if successful, the project “could lead to a nation-wide adoption of the modular classrooms, reducing reliance on the grid”.

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