In 2019, Cecil Andrews College students came up with the idea of an outdoor classroom and meeting area, using recycled plastics and providing stand-a-lone solar power to charge mobile devices.
The idea was enthusiastically supported by College Principal – Stella Jinman, Senior Design and Technical Teacher – Jason Evans and Engineering Mentor – Craig Power.
Western Power supports school projects of this nature, and were approached for financial and technical support – which was granted. The project commenced in early 2020.
The Project consisted of several elements involving many teachers, students, Western Power expertise and a contractor.
Jason Briggs – Western Power – provided the design expertise and assisted with the installation and commissioning.
He was a key supporter of the project and came to the college to give hands-on lessons to students.
The Project involved:
- Repurposing an existing roofed pergola and benches.
- Changing out, designing , manufacturing and assembling new the pergola bench planks and tables tops – made from recycled plastic bottle tops.
- Installing 2 PV solar panels on the pergola roof with a storage battery and wiring in eight USB power points and two 240 power outlets
- Installing an App to show solar system performance – for future student research
- Painting a Noongar Six Seasons motif onto the pergola timber frame
- Students determining the optimum angle and and location of the PV cells on the Pergola Roof by trial and experimentation
This was a collaborative project for students , teachers and industry and points the way forward for “Real Life” education.
It was my pleasure to assist with the project management and my greatest reward was observing how students and teachers became interested, engaged and ultimately owned the project.
The solar bench and pergola is a permanent feature of the college and hopefully will be replicated elsewhere in the college and other schools.