The pioneering Waitati school in Blueskin Bay (in the South Island of New Zealand) is at the forefront of a global $1.3 trillion energy system transformation. While others debate how to share local green power, Waitati School, with funding from Harper Collins and assistance from the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust, has made decentralised and decarbonised power a reality.
Gareth Hughes MP officially opened this exciting new community solar initiative on the 19th of October 2018. The school uses the Blueskin Energy Network to share surplus solar power with school families who subscribe to buy it. In Gareth’s words, “this pioneering project is yet another innovation from the community of Blueskin and the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust in collaboration with the school and partners. The Blueskin model should inspire others to be bold as innovators and changemakers and motivate government to do more”.
Waitati school’s solar array is installed where it is most cost effective or efficient to be located and where it will often be efficiently used (as kids are at school during the day). Anyone can now buy local green power in this community – regardless of whether they can afford panels themselves or own their own homes. They can now subscribe to join the school’s peer to peer scheme and get cheaper local power when there is a surplus (such as in the holidays, in the weekends or when the school day ends – ideal times for hard pressed families who need affordable power). Local consumers support the school by buying the school’s power. Principal Stacey Honeywill sees the sharing component as a positive for the school community. “It is great that we can provide cheaper power to the community when we are not using it and the the school will benefit from the sale of the power.”
This is the face of the sharing energy community.