Russel Norman

Peria School in Northland proving John Key wrong

by Russel Norman

According to John Key, solar PV systems “never pay for themselves, let alone reduce energy bills, or make money”.

That was his response when we launched our Solar Homes policy earlier this year.

Well, Peria School in the far North is about to prove the PM wrong.

I was up there on Monday cutting the ribbon on the school’s new 10kw solar PV system….


Or make that, flicking the switch…..


The panels will pay for themselves within four years and save the school around $6,000 every year – money that can then be spent heating the school pool and hiring a music teacher.

It’s hoped this will entice kids to school who don’t currently attend.

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Peria, a Decile 2 school, has a roll of only 35 yet it’s been paying nearly $900 a month for power. The school’s treasurer decided that this was no longer sustainable. This is the case for many schools – especially rural ones – around New Zealand.

Our schools are a perfect candidate for solar energy, because the vast majority of their power usage is during the day, when the sun is at its peak.

Plus, when children learn about clean energy and energy efficiency, they learn skills they will carry through the rest of their lives.

According to Peria School Principal Jason Tāne, “Solar just made so much sense. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the affordable thing to do.”

Here is Charlie Maria (and her twin Izzi on my left) explaining why solar makes sense.

While up North I was also lucky enough to catch up with Doubtless Bay Rural Women ..

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Test some manuka honey hives with Paihia beekeeper Brad Windust….

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And generally enjoy being in the company of some incredible people doing amazing things for the future of our kids.

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Published in Education | Environment & Resource Management by Russel Norman on Wed, June 25th, 2014   

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