Providing kids with tools for change

School-gen, a division of Genesis Energy, aims to cultivate environmentally-aware thinking and behaviour in kids and their communities. By installing solar panels on schools, School-gen enables them to generate their own power and teach their students about solar energy, climate change, and electricity generation.

The challenge

School-gen needed to be able to simultaneously track each school’s power generation and consumption and then display that information in an interactive, engaging, and easy to understand way. Seeing energy use in real-time would support an active learning environment, with kids solving energy challenges in their schools. In addition, School-gen was faced with the challenge of supporting a variety of solar power system hardware.

The result

SolarNetwork provided a robust and elegant solution for acquiring and displaying solar and grid energy data for new schools in our School-gen programme between 2015 to 2016. These guys are real experts and innovators in their field and are great to work with.

Rob Duff, School-gen Educator

SolarNetwork’s flexible, customizable platform met these challenges, while providing a low-cost, reliable platform for School-gen’s evolving monitoring and visualization needs. Schools are now able to see their generation and consumption as parts of their total energy environment, enabling them to save power and generating new learning opportunities.

The images below show the interactive visualization used at one School-gen school. Energy generation data is collected from six solar power inverters, and consumption data from a power meter that measures energy drawn from the electricity grid. Energy generated by the solar panels shows up as yellow bars going up from the horizontal axis, while energy consumed from the grid shows up as orange bars going down. Sometimes the school actually generates more energy than it needs; when that happens the excess energy is exported onto the grid, making the school an energy producer! Exported energy shows up on the chart as orange bars going up from the horizontal axis.

School-gen data visualization