Clean Power

Published on February 26th, 2016 | by Guest Contributor


Yackandandah 100% Renewable Plans Kick Off With 90kW Solar Health Centre

February 26th, 2016 by  

Originally published on One Step Off The Grid
by Sophie Vorrath

photo-e1456449318536A community-based effort to shift the regional Victorian town of Yackandandah to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2022 has taken a significant step forward, with the launch of a 90kW solar array on the rooftop of the town’s heath centre.

Community renewables group Totally Renewable Yackandandah and local not-for-profit Yackandandah Health Services switched on the 90kW PV system on Friday, just under six months after setting out to raise $60,000 through a purpose built crowd sourcing vehicle, Perpetual Energy Fund.

The solar system is expected to save the community-owned health centre $1 million over the next 25 years and slash its greenhouse gas emissions.

As well as the 348 solar panels, YHS has replaced 276 existing light fittings with LEDs, with plans to replace another 300.

Modelling is also underway to improve the centre’s air conditioning and hot water systems, as well to reduce waste across the facility.

Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) says the successful delivery of the solar system heralds a new high-water mark for the volunteer-run community group, bringing the coal of 100 per cent renewables for the town a “considerable step closer.”


TRY has raised $5000, which will be loaned for the further energy efficiency improvements and – as with the solar system – repaid with savings in power bills. Once the loans are fully repaid, the are put back into other community energy programs.

“Once a successful business recognises the multiple benefits of clean energy to its bottom line as well as its clients it is an easy decision to make,” said TRY President Matthew Charles-Jones.


TRY co-chair Matt Grogan, Indigo Shire Mayor James Trenery, and Yackandandah Health’s Annette Nuck

“These changes will deliver cost and energy savings from the proven, reliable and scalable technologies of renewable electricity generation.”

The solar panels were installed at YHS by Country Solar, a local firm with extensive experience in the installation of domestic and commercial systems, including Benella Hospital.

The system at Yackandandah Health also has the capacity to function independently from the grid – should it need to – once battery technology progresses enough down the cost curve.

Daily reports on the facility’s energy generation and consmption can be accessed online and are monitored closely by Yackandandah Health and Country Solar.

Country Solar director, Jeremy Mansfield has also offered an incentive of $100 per kw to Yackandandah Health for anyone who installs solar on their premises and mentions Yackandandah Health.

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  • ROBwithaB

    Where’s the link to the real-time power output?

    • Ronald Brakels

      It is unlikely to have one. There is no energy storage currently and so there is no need for it to be connected to the internet so it can check on electricity spot prices.

      • ROBwithaB

        “Daily reports on the facility’s energy generation and consmption can be
        accessed online and are monitored closely by Yackandandah Health and
        Country Solar.”
        Most of these Country Solar projects have their data online. People share the info with the world at large. I just can’t remember the name of the website.

        • Ronald Brakels

          Oh, right. That’s explains why you thought you’d be able to find the real-time power output online. Let’s see… Nope, can’t find it online. Looks like them city Victorians haven’t yet given their country cousins the secret of the internet yet.

          • ROBwithaB

            Here’s the site:

            All very voyeuristic, in an energy wonk kinda way. Amateur nerd-porn!
            Seems to be skewed mostly Australian at the moment.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Thanks for the link. It didn’t work for me yesterday, it didn’t work for me earlier today, but now it works. Don’t know what the problem was, but looking at the international rankings I see South Africa averages half the internet speed we do here in Australia. I honestly did not expect that. How do you manage?

            If you want to look at the big picture for Australian solar you can go here:

            It shows distributed solar output by Australian state. For example today, a sunny Sunday, rooftop solar was supplying 28% or more of South Australia’s electricity use around noon.

      • ROBwithaB

        The inverters are generally able to communicate with the web in real time.
        I recently connected up a Goodwe inverter, which has this functionality. Still busy working out all the details. Once I’ve sorted it out I’ll put the data for my system online as well.

        The more data there is publicly available online, the more accurate it will become to forecast output even before systems are installed, making such installations more “bankable”. Which leads to more PV being installed. I think that’s what’s behind the drive to make it all public.

        • Ronald Brakels

          My parents live in a town of 50,000+ and they only got reliable internet about a year and a half ago. We’re not very good at this.

      • ROBwithaB

        Of course, the fact that most inverters nowadays are internet-enabled makes the prospect of real-time spot prices perfectly doable.
        And with data flowing in both directions, that makes for a VERY flexible grid.
        Imagine a multitude of small PV systems, some of them with batteries attached. All connected to the electricity grid, and all connected to the internet.

        The inverter could be making intelligent choices in real time (based on certain preset parameters programmed in by the owner) on where to send and source electrons.

        It only dawned on me in the past week (when I finally integrated my own installation) that the infrastructure for a “smart grid” is ALREADY substantially in place.

        Why aren’t utilities using this information to operate more efficiently?

        • Ronald Brakels

          In Australia, people with home or business energy storage can use Reposit software to buy and sell at electricity at market prices – up to a maximum of 10 dollarydoos a kilowatt-hour. Having generation and disstributioon separate makes this sort of thing easy to do. Unfortunately, separating them directly led to us having almost certainly the highest pre-tax electricity prices in the world, but hey, you know what they say – you can’t make an omelette without tripling residential electricity prices.

          • ROBwithaB

            Looked up Reposit. They seem to be on the right track.
            But how many customers are they managing to sign up? There are articles online from as recently as about 8 months ago where they are still looking for “trial” customers to be guinea pigs.

            Any idea when they are planning to scale up?

          • Ronald Brakels

            Having batteries and being on the grid are required to use Reposit and that’s a rare combination at the moment. We’re still not at the point where batteries will pay for themselves when used as on-grid storage. But it is coming.

            Another potential market for them is electric cars. The trouble there is it has to be cleared with the car manufacturers since they don’t want the batteries degraded while they are in warranty. But the good news is if the batteries are only used at a small percentage of the output degradation from that is trivial, perhaps not even measurable, and a little bit from many cars adds up to a lot. And when electricity spot prices hit $20 a kilowatt-hour as they just did in Queensland a few hours ago, who cares if there is a little degradation when you are making that much money? (Or half that much with Reposit’s $10 maximum.) And it would be easy enough for cars to come with the software.

  • Mike Dill

    We are going to see a lot more of these projects in the future. It Just Makes Sense.

  • omar

    Solar panels on rooftops of the houses and utility scale storage is the way to go.

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