Rongomai School wins "Future of Energy" package

By Harata Brown

A new power wall battery could be the new craze for households if it means saving money.

South Auckland's Rongomai School is the first to be introduced to the new device, which can be used in varied ways to complement solar and provide a backup power supply.

With a hiss and a roar, and a flick of a switch, Rongomai School became the first in the country to test this state of the art technology.

Rongomai School Teacher Nicholas Pattison says, “It really fits in with our kaupapa, our S.T.E.M program (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). We have a pilot class for years five and six where the students are learning different hands-on activities and projects. So to have this technology embedded in our classroom, literally inside of our classroom is amazing.”

Mr. Pattison was responsible for entering Rongomai School into Vector's Future of Energy competition that awards some deserving families, schools and community groups with solar power systems and a Tesla Powerwall battery. Rongomai School is the first of 130 winners to receive the technology.

Mr Pattison says, “We had just started our STEM program and we saw it, and it was a perfect fit within our school, you know we have a large garden, and we have chickens where we are quite environmentally aware.”

Energy Minister Simon Bridges says, “I think it's pretty significant, I think it's the first of the first if you like, and I think batteries are a range of significant technology innovations that will really change energy over time.”

The Tesla battery is American technology that charges using electricity generated from solar panels.

The Chairman of Vector Michael Stiassny believes the technology is set to change the usual power supply market.

Mr. Stiassny says, “Today is exceedingly significant. This is the start of our future, we are an electricity distributing company, the old days are gone. This is about the new Vector, the new way of doing electricity.”

Vector will retain ownership of the energy system for the first 10 years then it will be passed onto Rongomai School.