Community buildings are going solar

Community buildings across the Swan Hill Rural City municipality are going solar.

Solar panel systems are being installed on the Nyah, Lake Boga and Robinvale community centres, the Swan Hill Council depot and Swan Hill Town Hall.

Swan Hill Rural City Council Senior Environment Officer Sam Steel said Council had been impressed with the power savings generated from a system on the Splatt Street office and wanted to extend that across the municipality.

“We have been achieving an excellent return on the solar system that was installed on our Splatt and Beveridge street offices in 2016, and wanted to extend that across more Council and community buildings,” he said.

“Council had set aside money to progress more solar, and we saw an opportunity to leverage that to access funding from Sustainability Victoria’s Local Government Energy Saver Program. That’s how we’ve been able to make this happen.”

Mr Steel said the program paid for an accredited auditor to assess Council buildings and determine the best ways for Council to save on energy costs.

Solar was the primary recommendation, and systems totaling 84kw will be installed across five sites. Local contractors have completed the Nyah and Lake Boga community centre installations, with the remainder expected to be complete by mid-December.

In addition to solar systems, LED lighting upgrades in the buildings were also recommended to help improve energy efficiency and reduce power bills. The Nyah and Manangatang pools will also have variable speed drives installed to their pump systems to reduce energy consumption.

The 85kw solar system operating on Council’s Splatt Street and Beveridge Street offices is saving about $20,000 in power costs each year, which means the cost of the system will be paid back in 2021.

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