Pilots are powerful for two reasons:
1. They are a great way to bring together groups of people to demonstrate how effective collective action can be in helping to change the status quo. More voices, more influence. Pilots, backed by evidence and research, can highlight and expose the challenges and blockages, particularly in government, far more effectively than any individual can (despite many individuals trying!). They also provide perfect opportunities for identifying solutions. And,
2. pilots provide the numbers and the evidence that decision-makers need, in order to believe and make change.
One example from the Low Carbon Schools pilot was around solar PV in public schools in WA. Several schools in this pilot were interested in putting significant sized PV systems on their roof. Given that most schools have little budgets, but are often extremely proactive around sustainability, it was thought Power Purchase Agreements would be the ideal solution for schools! But to the schools dismay, they were informed that this wasn’t possible due to outdated accountancy rules within the Department of Education.
However, with 15 progressive schools supporting this pilot, the Department of Education was advised that unless they did something about this, they’ll have 15 schools go rogue on them! Several months later, and there is now a process in place to assist schools through the technical process of procuring PV’s. With energy trading, batteries, community-owned solar and other innovations on the horizon, the next challenge is to help them into the 21st century to ensure that schools, the building blocks of our society, are not left behind in terms of technology but are the most efficient, high performing and healthy places they can be.