A classroom at the Eastern Hills Senior High School in the Perth suburb of Mt Helena is now receiving all of its power from the sun.
The transportable science classroom is being used to trial the use of photo voltaic cells as part of an experimental project partly funded by the Renewable Energy Advisory Council and run by the Building Management Authority.
Environment Minister Jim McGinty and Fuel and Energy Minister Geoff Gallop today visited the school - describing the project as an exciting step in the move towards the greater use of renewable energy in government buildings.
"The project involves the placement of photo voltaic cells on the roof of the classroom and the setting up of a data logger to measure the power used by the airconditioning, lights and appliances in the room," Mr McGinty said.
"The data is transmitted directly to computers in the BMA's Environmental Design Section for analysis.
"The classroom is equipped with the most energy efficient equipment to provide the best possible conditions for the project - gas heating, evaporative cooling and fluorescent lighting."
Dr Gallop said the results from the project so far were encouraging.
"For example, last week the classroom used 25.5 kilowatt hours of energy. The hot conditions required the use of the evaporative cooler for the first time, despite this, no SECWA power was used," he said.
Dr Gallop said the solar energy system included batteries to store power for times when the sun was not shining.
"Since the switch to solar power on August 13 this year 236 kilowatt hours of energy have been used in the operation of the classroom."
Mr McGinty said the BMA would monitor the system for two years - with the help of science students from the high school.
"The project will provide excellent 'hands on' experience for students on the subject of renewable energy," he said.
"It will also provide the BMA with invaluable information on the effectiveness of the system in reducing energy costs and is part of the state Government's continued efforts to establish above-average environmental standards for Government buildings."