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Advancing Clean Energy Schools Program

The department is committed to supporting the Queensland Government’s 50 percent renewable energy target in Queensland by 2030.

As one of the Queensland Government’s largest energy consumers, state schools spend more than $71 million each year on energy. The Advancing Clean Energy Schools (ACES) Program is a $97 million investment to reduce energy costs across state schools through the installation of solar systems and energy efficiency measures.

On 27 February 2020, the Queensland Government announced an additional $71.1 million over 3 years to expand solar under the ACES Program as part of the Cooler Cleaner Schools Program from 2020-21. The additional funding is intended to assist in offsetting the energy needs of new air conditioning installations across the state.

More than 800 of Queensland’s 1,249 state schools from across the Department of Education’s 7 regions are being assessed to identify where energy costs can be reduced through solar and energy efficiency measures. These measures may include LED lighting, timers on hot water systems and additional solar systems.

The program will be implemented in phases. Phase 1 is progressing during 2019–20. The selection of state schools for inclusion in the program is based on a range of factors, including the potential for a return on investment, current levels of energy use, student enrolments and site conditions.

Savings realised through the reduction of energy costs will be used to help support full implementation of the program, installing solar and energy efficiency measures across the remaining viable state schools, as well as other education priorities. The savings will be applied across the whole state school network rather than individual schools, given the variability of roof space as well as new air conditioning needs.

Elanora State School
Tannum Sands State High School

Frequently asked questions

Who is delivering the ACES Program?

Following a tender process, 3 partners have been selected to deliver the ACES Program, including ERM Power Retail Pty Ltd, Ecosave Pty Ltd and Downer EDI Engineering Pty Ltd. The ACES Program is being delivered in accordance with all relevant Australian and Queensland legislation, incuding departmental workplace policies and procedures. Delivering our commitments safely is a key objective of the ACES program.

How will schools be prioritised during the program rollout?

Priority is given to schools based on a range of factors, including the potential for solutions to reduce school energy costs to provide a return on investment, current levels of energy use, student enrolments and site conditions (heritage listing, roof structure and orientation).

How can I find out when my school will participate?

The ACES Program is split into phases. Installations at phase 1 schools are already underway at schools. The program will be rolled out over 4 years with the additional funding committed under the Cooler Cleaner Schools Program. During the program the department will contact schools directly to confirm when they will participate in the program. Schools do not need to apply to be part of the program.

Will my school receive a new solar system?

Detailed facilities studies (DFS) will be conducted at each school to identify the solutions that will best deliver a reduction in energy costs and provide a return on investment.

How is the ACES Program being funded?

The ACES Program is being funded from a $97 million loan from Treasury and the additional commitment of $71.1 million under the Cooler Cleaner Schools Program.

How will the savings be used?

Savings from reduced school energy costs will be used by the department to support full implementation of the program, repay the Treasury loan, as well as other education priorities.

How long is the ACES Program?

The program is being implemented in phases across 4 years from 2019–20. The phased delivery of the ACES program is designed to establish a safe approach to delivering the ACES commitments and ensuring delivery partners are meeting performance requirements across key areas such as cost, time, quality and safety.

Will my school’s new solar system offset 100% of school energy costs?

Detailed facilities studies will be conducted at each school to determine if solar and energy efficiency measures can reduce energy costs. Details of what will be required at each school will not be known until these site assessments are completed. It is intended that solutions installed across schools will support a reduction in energy costs and deliver a return on investment. It is unlikely the new solar systems installed in schools will offset 100% of school energy costs.

Will my school be able to export surplus solar power back to the grid?

Some schools may be able to export surplus solar power back to the grid; however, the ability to export is subject to a number of factors such as the size of the solar system, arrangements in place by local energy distributors (e.g. Ergon/Energex) and local network load limits.

Who is responsible for maintenance and the repair of solutions installed under the program?

The partner who installed the solar and energy efficiency measures at each school is responsible for providing operational and maintenance support for installed solutions for 1 year.

Will my school receive the savings achieved through reduced energy expenditure?

Savings made through reduced schools energy expenditure will be retained by the department to support full implementation of the ACES Program, repay the Treasury loan as well as other education priorities.

ACES first 30 schools in each region

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/ )
Last updated
25 March 2020