(first published in Environment Connect – an electronic publication of the East Gippsland Shire Council)
Work to install 287 solar panels on five East Gippsland Shire Council buildings has started. It is expected to reduce council’s carbon dioxide emissions by 123 tonnes annually, equivalent to seven Australian households.
Customer service centres and libraries* in Lakes Entrance, Paynesville, Omeo and Orbost, as well as the Bairnsdale Business Centre, will benefit from the project. A total of 94 kW of solar panels will be installed by the local company EnviroLinkAu.
Omeo continues to experience frequent blackouts, which is a problem for the community and local businesses. A grid-connected battery will also be installed at that site to keep some services running, such as the town’s only bank, when there is a grid failure.
The payback period for the project is between four and five years. Rising energy prices combined with the declining cost of solar products and the current feed-in tariff means solar is more viable than ever before.
A study was undertaken to see which council buildings would benefit most from solar panels. It found the customer service centres and libraries, which are open during daylight hours were most suitable.
Once the solar panels are installed, the buildings will use electricity generated by the sun, with any excess sent into the power grid for a minimum payment of 11.3 cents per kW – a feed-in tariff.
Considering solar? For households or local businesses considering solar in 2018, the likely financial outcomes for a 3 kW solar photo voltaic (PV) system should be: Installed cost $3,600, Annual generation 3,450 kWh, Retail tariff 25cents per kWh, Export tariff 11.3cents per kWh, Amount of export 30%, Annual income $720, Simple payback time 5 years, Simple rate of return 20% pa
For further information: Rebecca Lamble
*the obvious location for PV in town is the Bairnsdale Library. However apparently Heritage Victoria has blocked installation of panels even on the new part of the building if they are visible from the pavement.