(If you are looking for the Solar Energy FAQs page please click here.)
Why is Genesis Energy funding the Schoolgen initiative?
As one of the largest energy companies in New Zealand, Genesis Energy is conscious of the environmental effects of burning fossil fuels for electricity generation and the role it plays in meeting the country's climate change objectives. Through Schoolgen we are bringing solar energy and energy-efficiency to life for children across New Zealand in a fun, exciting and informative way (at no cost to schools). Our young people are the future leaders and decision makers, and it's important that they understand the role renewable energy and energy efficiency will play in creating a sustainable future.
Schoolgen is a Genesis Energy initiative and is entirely owned, funded and operated by the company. Genesis Energy has two highly qualified environmental educators who work in the Schoolgen schools at the Primary, Intermediate and Secondary levels. Educational resources were initially developed by Lift Education and are now added to by the environmental educators as their time permits.
Photovoltaic (PV) technology was chosen as the renewable energy focus for Schoolgen for several reasons. Solar energy is a very accessible form of renewable energy through-out New Zealand. PV panels are also well-suited in the school environment as they are extremely low maintenance, non-distracting, silent, and emit no pollutants. Additionally, the fact that sunlight can be transformed into electricity is intriguing!
PV panels supply a proportion of power required by a school. They are potentially able to provide a surplus of electricity which can be exported back into the National Grid. However, even during weekends and school holidays, the energy generated by the panels will most likely be self-consumed by the schools' base consumption such as refrigerators, hot water cylinders, and computer servers. Through rigorous energy efficiency measures it may be possible to enable a school to have a net export of electricity back to the grid, thus generating a small credit on the schoolâ€™s power bill.
It is not "costing" them anything as the panels were installed at no charge to the successful applicant schools. It is however saving the school money and reducing the schools carbon emissions by offsetting the amount of imported electricity. The free solar PV system also provides a valuable concrete example of photovoltaic panels in action, and a real-life context for teaching and learning related to many curriculum areas.
A key objective of Schoolgen is to raise student, staff, parent and community awareness of renewable energy, in particular solar energy, energy efficiency and climate change issues. Schoolgen teaching resources are freely available from the Schoolgen website for any school in New Zealand to use. The teaching resources vary in levels and subject matter, and cover a wide range of learning areas including Science (particularly the Physical World Strand), Mathematics with Statistics, Technology, Social Sciences, and English.