School Spotlight aims to highlight each and every one of the unique schools who have been part of the Solar Schools program. In late 2022 we connected with Principal Natasha Wicks, from Caloundra State High School on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

How would you describe your school?
CSHS is about to celebrate its 60th Year in 2023. It is close to the coast and has had limited facility upgrades since its opening. It is unique in that it is an older school that is striving to think futuristically and show students and the broader community that it can still contribute to reducing energy and do its bit to combat climate change.

Did your school have Energy & Sustainability measures put in place before joining the Solar Schools program?
Caloundra SHS did not have Energy & Sustainability measures in place prior to joining the Solar Schools Program. This was mainly due to the age of the school and its current infrastructure.

How did you first hear about the Solar Schools program and what prompted your school to want to join?
The school first heard about the Solar Schools program in 2021 and decided to participate as a way or reducing energy bills across the school following the installation of the QLD governments air-conditioning program. The school also felt that despite its age, there were still opportunities to participate in sustainable energy solutions. This is something important to students, staff and the broader community alike.

Does the Solar Schools program help your teaching team achieve education objectives?
The school uses the initiative to discuss renewable energies within the context of the curriculum in several subject areas such as Science, Technology and VET. The school will be offering a Certificate II in Sustainable energy in 2023.

Has Solar Schools helped your school reduce electricity usage and costs? If so do you know by how much?
Yes – Exact figures hard to tell as it also coincided with increased energy bills due to air conditioning.

What activities has your school/classrooms undertaken that are changing behaviours around energy and energy efficiency?
Yes – money saved on energy expenses can be now utilised in other areas of the school.

Would you recommend Solar Schools to other schools (or organisations)? If so, what would you tell them about Solar Schools and, want them to get from the program?
Yes – A practical example of how schools can do their bit to reduce energy costs and save the planet by using renewable energy sources.

Every school has a unique story and we love to hear them! Please contact us via if you’d like to be featured in the future.