A small regional school hidden away in bushland in South Australia's south-east is hoping to become a model for sustainable living with a 100 per cent solar-powered trout farm!
Kangaroo Inn Area School, about 40km north of Millicent, has begun a Major renewable energy project that will see its students construct solar panels to be attached to a battery storage pack, and run pumps that currently recirculate water through the fish farm.
Fish waste is absorbed by pots of watercress, which are irrigated while cleaning the water so it can be returned to the tank.
Science teacher Tom Davidson said the operation would be much more environmentally sustainable under the change to solar power, which is also expected to cut energy costs for the school.
"We're really hoping that putting it all on solar power will empower the students, in that we're actually accountable for producing fish and vegetables but with no carbon offset," he said.
"There is a small energy expenditure through pumps, but they are persistent in that they're on 24/7."
"We're hopeful that with the correct positioning of solar panels and a battery capacity … all irrigation and all pump circulation of water will be entirely run off solar power."
Year 10 student Dallas Skeer said he had always been interested in engineering, but the project had inspired him to think more about renewable energy.
"In the future I'm probably going to look towards solar power and do something in my future house or my shed [with renewable energy]," he said.
"It's probably been the funnest thing in my whole high school."You learn so much designing the projects and then when you get the end result it just feels so good."