Council leads the charge in renewable energy

Published on 14 October 2019

bankweb.jpg

A new solar system at the Community Bank Stadium in Diamond Creek is not only cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but will help prepare the Shire for the upcoming bushfire season.    

The unique solar and battery system also powers the first public electric car charging station in the Shire of Nillumbik.

Yan Yean MP Danielle Green officially launched the solar system today on behalf of the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio.

Nillumbik Mayor Karen Egan said the solar and battery system was a significant achievement for Council because it will continue to power the stadium, which acts as an emergency relief centre, in the event of grid failure or disconnection.

“This solar system will enable us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, lower the running cost of our facility and enable us to support our community during emergency events such as bushfires,” Cr Egan said.

“Outages from extreme weather events can now be prepared for with this stand-alone power system ready for the coming fire danger period.”

The system was made possible with $252,000 from the Victorian Government’s New Energy Jobs Fund and the support of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

The New Energy Jobs Fund supports the uptake of practical renewable energy applications for communities, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, drive innovation and assist community groups to develop renewable energy projects.

Nillumbik Council contributed a further $200,000 as well as the time of many staff to deliver the project.

When it was first designed, there was no other solar and battery storage system in Victoria and, possibly even Australia, which could supply power to a major public recreation facility that also functions as a Community Emergency Relief Centre.

So, in the event of an emergency such as a bushfire, the electrical system will continue to operate even during a grid failure.

“Our pioneering council staff, system designers and installers have created something unique. Other councils and organisations have been watching their work with interest,” Cr Egan said.

Electricity from the solar panels and batteries will power the facility in preference to the grid wherever possible and also allow it to continue operating independently off the grid during power outages for up to eight hours.

The system is expected to generate 131,000kW a year, supplying 75 per cent of the stadium’s peak demand. The batteries alone are predicted to contribute 23,900kW a year.

It will reduce grid electricity demand by about 49 per cent and provide electricity bill savings of about $640,000 over the life of the system.

The system is also expected to reduce Council's greenhouse gas emissions by
1.7 per cent relative to 2012/2013 levels.