3. Beechworth

Two children playing in front of solar installation at Beechworth Montessori School

Project 3: Beechworth Montessori School, Vic

Front view of Beechworth Montessori School solar installation

Beechworth Montessori School, a non-profit school in northern Victoria, has a sustainable focus. It occupies a repurposed building furnished with recycled items, and has a vegetable garden, composting, and a Walking Bus.
Website: https://www.beechworthmontessori.vic.edu.au/

Project story…

The school installed 15kW of solar PV in March 2015. The school had some funds, but not enough to cover the entire cost, so CORENA lent them $16,000, enough for 10kW, and the school covered the rest. Despite the low electricity rates paid by schools in Victoria this project ‘paid for itself’ via savings on power bills in 5 years and we received their final loan repayment instalment in February 2020. By then, via the use of their earlier repayments in subsequent projects as per our revolving fund mechanism, that original $16,000 loan had achieved $33,751 worth of climate goodness (at the school + at subsequent projects), and had avoided 122MWh of grid electricity.

Even though loan repayments from Beechworth school are no longer helping fund future projects directly, the money they have repaid us will continue to revolve in and out of future projects forever and their solar panels will continue reducing emissions for many years.

During fundraising for this project we introduced the option of making recurring donations. This proved to be quite popular, and as of 5 years later some of those are still recurring regularly.

See what has been achieved via the CORENA loan to Beechworth Montessori school so far

* The MWh figure is the amount of grid electricity avoided by solar electricity generation and energy efficiency measures. The resultant reductions in carbon emissions can be visualised as an equivalent number of average households switching from grid electricity to 100% renewable electricity, noting that the subsequent projects have been avoiding grid electricity for less time than the original project.

This project has been fully funded- Thank you!

Progress bar showing $5,319.10 in loan repayments and $10,680.90 in new donations

Honour roll

Thanks to all the people who have donated to this project.

Status: Funded project – loan fully repaid
Loan amount: $16,000
Loan repayments: $770/quarter

loan repayments table - loan fully repaid

Work details

15 KW System:
– 1 x SMA 15kw Tri Power 3 phase inverter
– 60 x Suntech STP-20/WD Poly Panels
– Clenergy Racking
Educational monitoring system (To be donated by Suntrix)
Total cost approx $24,000. CORENA lent $16,000 and the school paid for the rest themselves.
Expected savings: Approx 22,000kWh/yr overall (14,666kWh/yr from CORENA funded part), $3,080/yr (CORENA-funded portion) based on special education dept tariff of 21c/kWh.

Reduction in carbon emissions/yr: Equivalent to 2.64 average households using renewable electricity instead of grid electricity (from CORENA funded part)

Funding for this project was completed on December 17, 2014, but delays in obtaining approval meant the installation could not take place till early March. The system then needed to be inspected and was finally connected on March 24, 2015.