Originally published on One Step Off The Grid
by Sophie Vorrath
A 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.
“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.