Savings from solar, Parents for Climate Change argue
The Sector > Provider > General News > Big savings for ECEC services who install rooftop solar, Parents for Climate note

Big savings for ECEC services who install rooftop solar, Parents for Climate note

by Freya Lucas

February 23, 2024

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings who install solar panels can save between $12,400 to $14,600 per year in energy bills, advocacy group Parents for Climate has found.


The group conducted analysis of ECEC settings in a variety of locations around Australia, finding that early childhood settings spent an estimated 14.7 per cent to 28.9 per cent more on energy bills in 2023 compared to the previous year, a potential driving factor in increased costs for accessing education and care. 


“Our analysis shows that while a small number of centres are already installing solar and saving money, the vast majority lack the capacity to access clean energy upgrades,” said Parents for Climate chief executive officer, Nic Seton.

“Most centres simply don’t have the time and expertise to navigate the options without assistance, and many cite initial costs as a further obstacle,” Mr Seton added. 


Should Governments decide to expand existing rooftop solar and battery installation support for state schools to the ECEC sector the savings would be vast, he continued, potentially being able to be passed on to parents in terms of reduced daily fees. 


While the New South Wales and Queensland governments are piloting programs in state schools to install air conditioning powered by rooftop solar, there are no plans to extend this initiative into the ECEC sector.

According to Climate Energy Finance founder and director Tim Buckley, “A full rollout of solar on schools and early childhood centres would be the largest renewables project in Australia’s history, providing distribution-level grid stability opportunities, particularly as battery systems become more cost competitive.”

“The rooftop solar potential of the early childhood and school sectors should be a key part of the national effort to at least treble the existing 20 GW of cumulative rooftop solar capacity to the 60GW target for the NEM by 2040 (and 85GW by 2050 or 100GW including Western Australia and the Northern Territory) as modelled in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Integrated System Plan,” he added. 


Mr Seton said that more affordable clean energy solutions such as rooftop solar would also increase access to air conditioning and a safer environment for babies and young children who are more susceptible to heat-related illness. 


Parents for Climate believe there are a number of other benefits to Government support of rooftop solar and batteries, including more than 6,000 renewable energy jobs across Australia, cutting 1.35 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year, and contributing to the Australian Government’s goal of generating 82 per cent of our power from renewable energy.  


Learn more about the work of Parents for Climate here

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