Pupils at Ōhope Beach School can now track their solar energy to see if their town's sunny reputation stacks up.

Ōhope Beach School joined the Genesis School-gen solar programme following the installation of a 10-kilowatt solar panel system in August.

To monitor the power generated by the solar panels, Genesis provided a Watt Watcher device.

Principal Tony Horsfall said he was eager to join the School-gen programme as his students had a keen interest in how energy was produced and used.

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"Using the Watt Watcher, pupils can now see in real time how much solar energy is being generated from their panels, what the ultra-violet and weather readings are like, and what time the sun will rise and set,"

Ōhope Beach School can now compare its solar energy generation to 92 schools in New Zealand, from Russell to Timaru, through the School-gen website.

Ōhope students join Whakatane Intermediate, which has been a member of School-gen since 2013.

Whakatane Intermediate environmental lead Graham Henton said the programme modelled the future of sustainable energy production in New Zealand for the students.

"For our school, the School-gen solar panels have provided, along with practical teaching resources, a fantastic resource to support our students' environmental education learning. It's great that Ōhope Beach School is joining ours in channelling the sun's energy."

Past pupil and Genesis group manager corporate relations Emma-Kate Greer was excited to see Ōhope Beach School join the School-gen programme and reap the benefits of its sunny location.

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"Growing up in the Bay of Plenty, our sunshine was something we were very aware of and proud of, so it's great for me to see my old school harnessing this resource to reduce its carbon footprint."

School-gen resources are available to all New Zealand schools which link into the New Zealand curriculum and help boost students' knowledge and interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) learning.