The Ostrog Primary School – first energy independent school in Croatia

Jun 5, 2015

PHOTO: MARINA KELAVA

ZAGREB, 5 June 2015 – In the Ostrog Primary School, on World Environment Day, which is celebrated today, work began on the installation of 22 kW solar power plant on the school's roof that will make this elementary school the first school that produces all the electrical energy it consumes. 

“We are very pleased that our school is on it’s way to become the first energy independent school in Croatia. The savings generated in electricity production will enable further investment in energy efficiency measures and also improvement of working conditions in the school," said Nevenka Maras, Head Master of the Ostrog Primary School. 

To recall, the Ostrog Primary School, with the help of crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo platform, and with the support of the Energy Cooperative Kastela and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Croatia has collected USD 10,000. These funds have been added to the funds of UNDP, donations from the county and the local community and the investment from the private company Eco - Orbis Ltd. through ESCo model, so at the end, the total amount invested in the energy independence of school exceeds USD 115,000. 

One part of donated funds were invested in thermal insulation and waterproofing of the roof and on the replacement of classroom lighting with more efficient LED lighting should reduce power consumption more than 60 percent. The legal standard of required illumination is also achieved in the school because it protects the health of children in a crucial stage of their development. 

“After this project, there are no legal obstacles for schools and similar institutions to implement the same projects to a greater or lesser extent, because each school is special, but common to all of them is that without the involvement of their own funds or funds of the county and the city, they can achieve two most important goals; protection of children’s health in their early development and achieving energy independence at the end,” said Aljosa Pleić, management consultant of the company Eko – Orbis. 

Also, he invited primary and secondary schools across Croatia to embark a project like this one: “The Ostrog Primary School has the necessary knowledge and procedures for implementation of such project, our company and our partners from the Green Energy Cooperative, Energy cooperative Kastela, UNDP, and other companies engaged on this project could implement it before the start of the next school year.” 

Upon completion of the solar power plant, the Ostrog Primary School will become energy independent in terms of electrical energy because it will produce the same amount of electrical energy as it will spend on an annual basis. Also, installation of solar power plant is made without state subsidies which represent a new business model applicable to other schools. 

“This is the first example in Croatia that energy cooperatives (Energy Cooperative Kastela and Green Energy Cooperative), with the support of the UNDP, presented a model which should become dominant in the coming years. With the cooperation and investments of citizens and local authorities, the school produces its own electricity - without state subsidies. With the use of the EU funds and crowdfunding, we hope to enable citizens to produce their own renewable energy, and to get closer to countries like Germany, where half of the installed capacity in renewables is owned by individuals and energy cooperatives,“ said Edo Jerkić from the Green Energy Cooperative. 

At a moment when we are publically discussing the exploitation and drilling of the Adriatic Sea for the fossil fuels, the energy independent Ostrog Primary School became a guide mark that shows us the way which we have to follow if we want to maintain a healthy and clean environment, not only for the present, but also for generations to come.