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Northland school leading the way with its solar energy system

A Far North school is leading the way in renewable energy with the biggest solar energy system on a school in the country.

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It’s the biggest solar heating system in the country. Source: 1 NEWS

With power not coming cheap in Northland this new system is set to save them tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.

The new solar energy system at Kaitaia College is the biggest for a New Zealand school.

“This particular one at the school will generate in the first year at least 124,000 kilo watts hours of energy,” Dwayne Cocker from the Sustainable Energy Association told 1 NEWS.

With 368 panels, it's 25 times larger than the average household system.

“Schools make sense for solar because a lot of their energy is actually being used for in the day time and of course it's during the day time there’s plenty of generated power,” Mr Cocker said.

The cost of power's particularly high in northland so the school plans to help by passing excess energy it doesn't need during the holidays back onto the grid for the community.

“If we can pass that on and give them more cents in the dollar back first and foremost it's going to improve their quality of life,” principal Jack Saxon told 1 NEWS.

“There's going to be an inherent interest in solar power because it's already here, around the science of how it works and the maths behind making sure it does the right stuff, I think it's going to benefit everyone,” student Josh Pahl told 1 NEWS.

This new solar heating system will meet up to 60 percent of the electricity needs of the 900-hundred students, which costs the school between $9000 and $10,000 on power.

While a system like this comes with a $180,000 tag, it will pay its own way.

“This is cost neutral so what we save as a result of the solar power we now pay it out in less than ten years,” Mr Saxon said.