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Ministry of Education.
Kaua e rangiruatia te hāpai o te hoe; e kore to tātou waka e ū ki uta

Renewable energy: Solar panels

Students developed a brief for their project based on an authentic context.

Duration: 03:46


Hamish: Our project for this year was based on the context, which we used to develop a brief, and the context that we had was to get the school’s energy consumption to drop by a certain percentage. And at this stage of the start of our project, it dropped by ... 
Marco: Twenty six percent. The school's overall usage has dropped, power cost has dropped by twenty six percent.

Hamish: Yep.

Marco: And that’s over three years.

Hamish: Yep. Three years so far.

Marco: And the goal is forty percent over five years.

Hamish: And so based on that context, we were given a bunch of renewable energy technologies and with that there was the option of solar water heating, wind turbine, a micro-hydro system, and then lastly was the solar PV panels, which we both choose.

Our deadline was more or less the year eight day for our school. Our principal wanted us to have the solar panels up so that everyone could see them, so that was also incorporated into our consideration for where we would place the PV system because they had to be easily seen, easily noticeable, and also they had to maximise the sun that they could get. So that is why we put them on to the Special Ed Centre building.

Marco: Our goal was the year eight evening – was that we put it in two months before that, three months before that. We did have a lot of help though.

Hamish: Yep.

Marco: So we couldn’t have done this without the technical assistance of Mr Dobbin, Stuart from Ark Electrical, who was the electrician on the day.

Hamish: The main problem was because we wanted to connect to the Special Ed building and we also wanted to have the Special Ed building still connected to the grid in case for whatever reason there wasn't enough power generated. Because of that, we had to look at an application to connect to the lines.

Marco: From Horizon.

Hamish: From Horizon, which because our application was so detailed, it got approved overnight. So because we were working above, it was ...

Marco: Two metres.

Hamish: Two metres. Because we were working above that, which even though the roof didn’t look like it was much of a slope once we got up there, we found out it was. We had to have either harnessing or ...

Marco: A handrail.

Hamish: Handrail.

Marco: Some sort of edge protection.

Marco: So it goes like scaffolding along the guttering.

Hamish: Yep.

Marco: We’ve got that here.

Hamish: Yip, so what we did was we worked with local businesses and we managed to get Davie Painters because they were already working in the school. We worked along side the caretaker and he organised for Davie Painters to just leave their scaffolding up for us so that we could work on the roof and be safe about it.

Marco: We could put all the panels on, run all the cables, everything. Just not go into the switchboard and do that.

Hamish: Yep.

Marco: We just couldn't make the final click. What we needed ...

Hamish: Because that had to be by a certified electrician.

Marco: Out of the contexts for the course it was.

Hamish: Yep.

Marco: It's sustainability through practice and it has to be able to be monitorable. What we had to do was make a website.

Hamish: We had to look at seeing how efficient our system said it was and how efficient our system actually was.

Marco: What it does is it tells us exactly how much we producing, how much we’ve saved, how much it's making right now. It's a continuet, it updates every 10 minutes and it sends emails to the school weekly.

Hamish: Our teacher Mr Dobbin is just so passionate about, cause his house is completely sustainable almost. He has power bills we he gets paid because he sells back.
Marco: To the grid.
Hamish: His extra energy to the grid, so most of his power bills are income for him.
Marco: Because that's the way the world's going. It's going sustainable.

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