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Solway College

For Solway College solar power provides more than just financial benefits

Their Mission

Help advance a strategic plan to be emissions free without needing to fund it ourselves. A clean electricity supply is now essential to their school together with a supplier who can deliver that and provide it with financial advantages.

Our Solution

Utilise installed this solar power plant on the roofs of the school at no capital cost to the school. It owns the solar installation and charges Solway College for the solar power it consumes.

Utilise installed solar panels, and provided Solway with a right to purchase them, and in the meantime will offer prices protected from price rises. We organised installation in stages to work with new dormitory builds, and presented comprehensive Power Purchase Agreement.

Utilise installed this solar power plant on the roofs of the school at no capital cost to the school. It owns the solar installation and charges Solway College for the solar power it consumes.

Tell us about what this involved?

“Utilise recently installed stage 1 of a 110kW system for Solway College under the Utilise power supply agreement. While the financial case stood up well with long-term electricity cost savings, there were many other compelling aspects to the business case decision.

What do your students think of this?

The school was keen to demonstrate to its future leaders its commitment to sustainability by making the move to renewable energy. Part of that leadership was to play its part in meeting the government’s vision for our country and its targets of being carbon net zero by 2050 and a 100% renewable electricity supply by 2030.
In particular, Solway College saw it as important to model to its students a commitment to tackling climate change, given the importance of showing our young people practical ways that it can be reduced. The Utilise solar system is able to do just that. The school already has a Kaitiaki programme related to restoration of native fauna and the installation of renewable energy demonstrates the same principles.

Can it help with your students' learning?

In addition, having solar generation at the school enables it to be integrated into it’s curriculum. There are many strong voices in the student community around climate change and the solar system will become a learning tool. Rather than teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics as separate and discrete subjects, the solar system integrates them as a real-world application. The system monitoring allows students to see the benefits in real time.

What are the best things about this project?

In summary, the Utilise solar system deployed at Solway College not only provides financial benefits, it also helps our nation by contributing to New Zealand’s clean energy future and enhances the school’s role of leadership in the community. It models the school’s environmental credentials, providing a real-world example of renewable energy and sustainability in action that augments the Solway College curriculum, becoming a symbol to its student and parent communities of practical progress in slowing climate change


What are you looking for from your power supplier?

Every aspect of our business relies heavily on power so reliability of supply is of paramount importance.  Because we have multiple locations and multiple business functions we wanted a power supplier who understood our needs, made it simple for us and delivered us savings. 

What has Utilise done for you?

They spent time getting to know our business.  They visited our locations and analysed the way and when we use power. They took this information and came up with a plan that has delivered us savings on our electricity bills across the board. With multiple sites our accounts team were keen to see one bill for admin simplicity which Utilise provides. The bill gives a location breakdown and usage summary which is helpful for us to keep track and be aware of any unexpected changes.

Some businesses fear switching suppliers will be a hassle. What was your experience?

The switch process itself was managed by Utilise so was no hassle at all. We spent a little time at the front end assisting their Team with the analysis of our power usage and spend, but it was exactly what we needed to give us a better understanding  and its resulted in the savings Utilise are delivering  us. Our savings began as soon as we switched, and the switch was seamless.

Do you have any advice for people considering switching to Utilise.

When you are busy running your business it is very easy to become complacent about essential operating costs such as power supply and assume you are getting a good deal. My advice would be to test it.  Utilise services the business sector only so they take the time to get to know their customers and work out the best plan to deliver you savings.      

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