A new solar and battery loan program unveiled by federal Labor would be a game changer for many schools and the way they manage their electricity, the Clean Energy Council said.

Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton said solar with on-site battery storage is a practical solution that can help schools make the most of the sun’s energy during term, as well as being of immense benefit to the power system over the summer break.

“The $1 billion loan program announced by the ALP would lead to a big increase in energy storage across the country, helping to improve the reliability of the energy system. These systems are also a fantastic educational resource to give students a first-hand glimpse at Australia’s move to renewable energy,” Thornton said.

Clean Energy Council analysis suggests typical smaller schools could save between $7,000 and $15,000 a year through the program, depending on their location, electricity use and the terms of their contract with their power company. A larger school could save between $89,000 and $120,000 a year.

“The systems funded under the proposed scheme would use smart and sophisticated technology that would enable them to form part of a virtual power plant which can be centrally controlled, acting much like traditional power plants do today,” Thornton said.

“These systems will be able to manage the generation and storage of electricity for the school, as well as pushing down the overall price of electricity and making a major contribution to the reliability of our power system.

“Innovations like this are a genuine glimpse of the future of our energy system, as we move away from huge high-emission electricity generation to a series of smaller but linked clean energy resources.

“The size of systems installed under the program will vary substantially, but the potential savings on offer are very real and could help schools who have been struggling with their power bill,” he said.