Media release - Biloela students group photo - edited 2

Local Students Help Illuminate Regional Communities

- Jemena
Thursday, 13 April 2023

Students across Central Queensland are helping to make solar power available to families living “off the electricity grid” in remote parts of northern Australia as part of the StudentBuddy program – a joint partnership between leading energy infrastructure company Jemena and global impact organisation, SolarBuddy.

As part of the program students work in teams to assemble solar light systems which can provide enough energy to light up a large room in a typical family home, as well as charge several devices.

Jemena presenter Jodi Wood said the program provides an opportunity for students to develop skills in teamwork while also sparking their interest in STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, and Maths) subjects.

“We were thrilled to work with over 100 year eight students from Biloela State High School and Moura State High School as part of the StudentBuddy program,” said Ms Wood.

“As a result of their efforts more than 60 solar light systems were assembled which will now be donated to off grid communities living across remote parts of northern Australia.

“Assembling the solar light systems takes around 45 minutes each and involves two key stages: putting together the solar panel – which will be mounted on a person’s roof – and the light itself, which includes a LED torch and charging points, and can be wall hung or even carried.

“In addition to constructing the systems students were also encouraged to consider issues relevant to the energy system such as: global energy poverty, climate change, and the development of new renewable technologies.”

SolarBuddy Program and Partnerships Manager Tara Williams said all donated lights will go to directly benefit children whose families rely on sources like diesel or LPG generators for their electricity supply.

“With two percent of Australians currently estimated to be living off the grid, we know for many people in remote communities, access to lower cost, higher reliability, low-emission energy solutions can be limited by large geographic distances, digital connectivity issues, and even large weather events like large floods that prevent regular re-fuelling and service support.”

“The StudentBuddy lights overcome these obstacles by drawing on the power of the sun to deliver safe and clean energy. Their modular design means anyone is able to build, maintain, or fix them. We estimate the 60 lights being donated by Jemena will benefit up to 300 individuals and save 76.8 tonnes in carbon emissions over the next three years.”

Designed in Queensland, each light can provide enough power to illuminate a large room and charge multiple devices, allowing families to study, play, and stay connected after dark.

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