Solar energy fuels bright futures for Otaki College pupils

Posted on
16 March 2015
Chemistry is making a comeback at Otaki College, and it has nothing to do with US TV series Breaking Bad. Rather, science teacher Dawn attributes the increased class sizes to the practical lessons that the school’s new solar panels are providing.

Principal Andy Fraser is the driving force behind getting sustainability into and beyond the classrooms; for the past several years the college vehicles have run on emulsified biodiesel.

In 2014, Year 9 & 10 students experienced Project Solar, using meters and solar panels to assess energy use and learn about energy consumption and conservation.  Supported by WWF, another teaching tool has just been developed for the college: solar/thermal energy prototypes designed by Andrew Clark of local clean tech company Sunrayker Ltd.

Three of these impressive looking Sunrayker machines now belong to the college and Andrew says each can trap 395 degrees Celsius from the sun, which students will learn how to track, harness  and store in oil.  Practically, they could use it to heat the school’s pool.

Andy Fraser has no doubt that it will help keep science popular: “Project Solar is bringing the curriculum alive through making it meaningful for students,” he explains.  For the community of Otaki, the future is certainly looking brighter.

BLOG POST BY WWF's Rosa Argent



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