A total of 41 Western Cape schools have applied to install solar panels to reduce their environmental impact and electricity costs. The combined peak capacity of these installations is 25.87 MWp.
One of these schools, Tamboerskloof Primary School, has also installed a battery storage system, to keep the lights on during load shedding and allow teaching and learning to continue.
These projects have been funded by the schools, either through School Governing Body (SGB) funds, or by entering into lease agreements with firms such as Sun Exchange (a solar leasing platform). We fully support these investments by our schools, valued at over R46 million.
In addition, 25 schools have had their existing lights replaced with energy-saving LED lights through a pilot project with Stellenbosch University. The Department provided 40% of the funding for the project in the 2021/22 financial year. The replacement of florescent lights with LED lights can lead to an annual saving of up to R36 000 per school.
Following the success of the pilot project, a list of 100 no-fee, high enrolment schools has been identified that could benefit from the intervention. 25 of these schools are benefitting from the LED lighting project in the 2022/23 financial year, fully funded by the Department. The work has already been completed at most of the schools, with the project expected to be completed by October 2022. We will then consider expanding the project to other schools.
Schools are also receiving LED lighting during scheduled maintenance projects where replacement of lights is required. Newly constructed schools also make use of LED lighting.
We are committed to doing all we can to support our schools to reduce their energy consumption, and look forward to seeing other schools taking the initiative to address our energy crisis and reduce costs in the process.