|Panel Type||Tier 1 Trina Solar 270W
Tier 1 Trina Solar 295W
|Monitoring||Fronius Solar Web|
ZEN Energy installed a 130kW ZEN Solar Solution across the roofs of St John’s Grammar in Belair, South Australia. The solution is helping the school to significantly reduce their operating costs, in turn allowing them to direct more funds to positive initiatives for their school community and become more environmentally friendly.
About the Project
St John’s Grammar is a co-educational school nestled in the Adelaide foothills suburb of Belair. With around 800 students currently enrolled, the school offers education from early learning through to Year 12 and is spread across three campuses all in close proximity to one another. With the cost of energy rising and a desire to become more sustainable, St John’s went to the market to see how solar could help.
“The main instigators were two things. One was obviously the high energy rates that have been going through the Australian market and through the wholesaling industry. Also as part of our sustainability project, we were very keen to start looking at ways to minimise our energy consumption.”
Arthur Galantomos, Property Manager, St John’s Grammar School.
St Johns Grammar first realised the benefits of ZEN Energy solar in 2017 when they invested in two separate 30kW solar systems – one for their Junior School and one for their Secondary School. This investment delivered energy cost savings and environmental benefits from day one, but more importantly for ZEN also cemented a long-standing partnership with the school, making ZEN top of mind for the school when they decided to install additional solar in 2018.
“There was always a desire to expand. Rather than go out to the market, based on ZEN’s reputation and the quality of work that was performed across both campuses, we felt comfortable with moving forward with them as a sole supplier.” Mr. Galantomos said.
After reviewing the outcomes of the first two 30kW systems and what the school was still looking to achieve, St Johns Grammar and ZEN Energy worked together to deliver an additional 70kW of solar to the school in mid 2018.
With all three systems combining to deliver a 130kW, 456 panel solar energy solution expertly designed and installed by ZEN Energy, St Johns Grammar are now providing a more sustainable, and environmentally conscious environment for their students, teaching staff, and community.
Choosing a Solar Supplier
When St John’s first considered solar for their Junior and Senior campuses in 2017, they were somewhat apprehensive about who they could trust and what the true benefits of solar actually were. As St John’s Property Manager Arthur Galantomos says:
“We were inundated with businesses talking to us about what solar does, the benefits, but we really didn’t know the ‘real’ benefits.”
However, Arthur discovered that these concerns were quickly put to rest by the expert team at ZEN. As Arthur goes on to say:
“When we went out to industry and explored the market, ZEN Energy’s proposal was very attractive. They were able to walk us through what solar was all about. They were open and transparent with the figures that we were going to achieve, and just the way they went about conducting the surveys, it really made us feel comfortable with our decision.”
Installing the Solar Project
As part of designing the first two 30kW solutions in 2017, ZEN Energy’s expert team conducted a thorough analysis of the energy usage profiles and patterns of both the Junior and Senior campuses, to develop a solution that would be technically sound, purpose-designed and deliver optimal financial benefits.
From the analysis, ZEN designed and installed the two 30kW systems using a total of more than 200 solar panels, controlled by 2 Fronius Symo inverters.
When St John’s then looked to expand their solar project in 2018, ZEN was once again contracted to provide additional solar to further offset the school’s growing energy needs.
In the second step of the partnership, ZEN Energy and St John’s worked together to install a further 70kW of solar, including a solar array atop their award-winning Performing Arts Centre. This installation was completed in 2018 and comprised of more than 230 Tier 1 Trina Solar panels, controlled by 4 Fronius Symo solar inverters.
Arthur Galantomos from St Johns expressed the school’s happiness with ZEN Energy across both all the installations in glowing terms:
“Dealing with ZEN was easy and fantastic, right through from the beginning of the proposal to the delivery and hands on, to the person putting the actual system in place, very professional. They communicated all the time throughout the whole process, it was very seamless.”
By partnering with ZEN Energy, St John’s is greatly reducing their operating costs while being environmentally and economically sustainable. In turn, this is allowing the school to redirect funds into creating more value and positive initiatives for their students.
“All the savings that we make, which we call surplus, allows us then to put back through to the school, and undertake some key initiative projects that we couldn’t otherwise undertake. And it is fair to say that over the last year we have seen a reduction in our energy bills.”
Across the three systems, St John’s Grammar is forecast to save over $20,000* in energy costs annually. Using renewable energy in lieu of the grid also provides the school with the potential to reduce its carbon footprint by over 100,000 kg of CO2 each year, which some forecasts suggest is equivalent to St John’s staff and students planting 500* trees every year over the life of the systems.
On a final note, Arthur explained how thrilled he and the school were with their ZEN Energy experience, and provided three key reasons he believes others should choose ZEN for their renewable energy needs.
“Three key recommendations – their knowledge of the industry, they’ve got a very good grasp of the solar industry, and how the market is performing in that space. Their professionalism. And the ground staff as well, they were very, very helpful throughout the whole process, and that made us feel comfortable. So in my opinion, ZEN Energy is a good supplier to be onboard with.” Mr. Galantomos concluded.
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*estimated yearly savings based on forecast combined average yearly production of both systems, 100% on-site solar self-consumption, and offsetting an average grid energy tariff of 15c per kWh.
*carbon to trees ratio based on Trees for Life Trees for Carbon estimate that 5 trees will absorb one tonne of carbon over their lifetime.