Skip to Content
Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    ERM Power


    New South Wales

    ARENA Program

    Advancing Renewables Program

  • Start date

    1 June 2018

    End date

    20 June 2019

  • Project Partners
    Schools Infrastructure NSW
    This solar PV project was completed on 20 June 2019.


The NSW Schools Energy Productivity (SEPP) program ran from April 2018 – June 2019 and demonstrated the benefits of integrating energy productivity improvements and renewable energy across NSW schools. The aim was to accelerate widespread adoption in schools and leave a legacy of increased skills, capacity and knowledge to extend beyond the pilot.

Key results

The energy and cost savings achieved in the pilot
SINSW and ERM Power agreed the pilot achieved the following metrics:

  • Estimated $651,700 (60.31%) reduction in annual electricity spend
    – Solar accounted for 29.03% or $189,200
    – Lighting consumption savings accounted for 49.90% or $325,200
    – Lighting demand savings accounted for 21.07% or $137,200
  • Additional $64,750 in maintenance savings due to LED Lighting
  • Estimated 3.55 GWH (60.7%) reduction in annual electricity consumption.
    – Solar accounted for 37.94% or 1.35 GWH
    – Lighting consumption savings accounted for 62.06% or 2.20 GWH
  • Estimated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 3,475 metric tonnes of Co2

Outcomes of staff and student engagement activities
A pre-engagement and post-engagement survey were carried out to measure energy literacy, using two metrics for gauging literacy: the participant’s sense that they understand their energy bills and their comfort with the meaning of electricity demand.

Strong improvements were measured in both areas. Respondents’ understanding of bill charges increased from 18 per cent to 55 per cent. Additionally, respondents that reported understanding the concept of demand doubled from 36 per cent to 72 percent after the program finished.

Last updated
22 March 2021

How the project works

During the NSW Schools Energy Productivity Program (SEPP) Pilot, ERM Power applied its deep knowledge and experience gained working with Queensland State Government schools over the past five years, to provide analysis, insight and support to improve existing procurement and deployment activities. This both reduced costs and accelerated the adoption of renewable technologies and energy productivity improvements across NSW State Schools.

ERM Power also developed a suite of engagement solutions designed to overcome traditional barriers to the adoption of positive energy behaviours at local school level to drive further energy productivity improvements.

Area of innovation

When the project began, Schools Infrastructure NSW’s (SINSW) resource efficiency program was limited to procuring and installing LED lighting and large-scale solar PV systems.

The SEPP pilot complemented, extended and streamlined these efforts by undertaking process design and advisory activities that explored how to further reduce energy costs and maximise the value of investments.

The pilot also established a method of school engagement in 20 pilot schools that left a legacy of better knowledge and energy use behaviours that can be replicated across all NSW schools.


The targeted outcomes of the Pilot include:

  • drive significant and replicable energy cost savings (~20% at a minimum) as a result of energy productivity improvements and installation of renewable technologies over the short term, and reduction of maintenance costs over the medium to long-term
  • integrate energy productivity improvements including the streamlining of Schools Infrastructure New South Wales (SINSW) existing procurement and deployment programs to catalyse and accelerate the adoption across the NSW school portfolio and create further uptake nationally
  • share outcomes, data driven insights and learnings from the pilot with key policy and decision makers within NSW Government, the broader industry and school networks to accelerate investment across Australia

Read more

 NSW SEPP website

Last updated 22 March 2021
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Back to top