Sheldon College is a world-class independent co-educational, non-denominational college which is recognised as one of Australia’s most outstanding private schools. Nestled in a picturesque, semi-rural setting, the College has the motto ‘Achieve the Extraordinary’ and they wanted their solar system to do just that. Goodhew Electrical and Solar designed and installed a 1.2-megawatt solar system at the college consisting of over 3,300 panels housed across eight buildings. The entire system is integrated and can be monitored in real-time with the data providing an important educational platform for students to learn about renewable energy through a specialised curriculum. Being situated within an operational setting which caters for children from 15 months of age to grade 12, there were a number of key challenges with the design and installation which were overcome. These included the need for a staged installation to allow for minimal interruption to college operations and a customised design including replicating the school’s logo on the Sheldon Stadium. A key achievement of this project was the creation of Redland City’s largest solar installation and also the largest solar system installed on any school in Australia.

The Brief

The College approached Goodhew Electrical and Solar with a simple goal to reduce its ever-increasing electricity bill while seeking to enhance it’s sustainability commitment through renewables. The College wanted to minimize the impact of the solar installation on daily operations; therefore, were looking to partner with a company that understood operational environments and could design the system to be installed in phases.

Scope of Work

The scope of work included design and installation of a large-scale solar system on eight existing buildings across the college campus. The buildings include: Sheldon Linq Centre, College Administration, Performing Arts Centre, Cafe & Pavilion, Wonderland Early Learning Centre, Junior Sports Centre, Grounds Facility and the Sheldon College Stadium. Goodhew Electrical and Solar together with our engineers undertook the entire design and certification of the project to ensure the highest-quality outcome for the College. Additional scope included the upgrade to a number of distribution boards and main switchboard as well as other electrical works across the campus to cater for the new solar system.

Project Achievements

Between the peak consumption hours of 9am and 1pm, the College is virtually running for free with substantial savings occurring either side. The ultimate achievement of this system is the savings to the school’s operational budget post solar. Additionally the environmental benefit of reducing the school’s reliance on the grid and therefore coal-fired energy equates to approximately 1 tonne of Green House Gas emissions per 1100kwh. At full capacity, in a single day, the system is saving around 5 tonnes of Green House Gas emissions being released into the atmosphere. Additionally, the Return on Investment for the college has been exceptional with an expected ROI of between 15% – 20% annualized over 10 years. This is a very conservative estimate and with today’s state-of-the-art, robust technology and warranty provisions mean that this installation will still be performing long after 10 years which is ultimately a financial bonus. These achievements have not occurred by accident, they happen by design. Goodhew Electrical and solar worked with the College to ensure that the system is designed to maximise ROI and performance. We worked with the college’s operations department and teachers to truly understand exactly how and when power was being used to ensure the system was able to cover the peak demand of the college each and every day.