Solar for our Public Buildings

Late last year I received a letter some Year 6 students from Camberwell Primary School. They wrote to me concerned about their “energy problem” they had discovered after conducting an energy audit on the school. They wrote:

Climate change is a life threatening crisis and whether we like it or not, it needs to be prevented from getting worse. Our school community wants to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses implicated through our energy use. We conducted an energy audit on our school and found that our school is not energy efficient. We are convinced that installing solar on our roof is the best possible way to become a more environmentally friendly school.

I couldn’t agree more! Renewable energy is here to stay and for good reason.  From primary school students to your Member for Hawthorn, we all know the positive environmental impact renewable energy. Not only this, the financial benefits of renewable energy, especially solar can be understated. As an affordable and environmentally sustainable power option we want to make solar energy available to public buildings.  This will make a huge impact on the up take of renewable energy across our state as well as saving community groups money on power bills.

What is the Solar on Public Buildings program?

The Solar on Public Buildings is a $9.2 million program funded by the Victorian Government. The program will install solar systems on eligible public buildings across Victoria, to help reduce energy bills, increase community energy knowledge and enhance the long-term sustainability of volunteer community groups. The program will also add value to the public land sites by carrying out energy audits on all sites, improving electrical safety on old buildings and installing an energy monitoring system to monitor the solar system performance in real time. Battery installations will be considered for some sites. The program follows the successful implementation of a similar program in the Gippsland region in 2017-19, which resulted in solar system installs on 69 public buildings that included small country halls and large multi-user recreation reserves.

Who is eligible?

Buildings on public land that are run by volunteer committees of management will be eligible to receive solar photo voltaic infrastructure under this program. Examples may include sport and recreation buildings and community halls.

What type of Solar System will be installed?

A registered solar installer accredited by the CEC will assess each building and review power bills and usage patterns on the Crown land reserve to provide recommendations on the type and size of solar system required to offset the energy needs of the facility and to meet program objectives. The solar system will be tailored to meet the individual needs of each eligible reserve. All equipment installed will be high quality (Tier One) products that are approved by the Australian Clean Energy Council (CEC).

Is it safe?

Yes. Only Clean Energy Council (CEC) endorsed products and installers and only Australian Standard tier one photo voltaic solar panels will be used. The contractors on the panel will be local contractors where possible, who have experience in the installation of solar systems. Each system has a warranty period of at least five years, so any repairs required during the warranty period will be repaired free of charge.

For more information on solar for public buildings please visit – www.forestsandreserves.vic.gov.au/grants/solar-on-public-buildings-program

For information about solar energy on private residential property please visit – www.solar.vic.gov.au/solar-rebates 

For information about making Government schools greener through solar energy and much more please visit – www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/Pages/GreenerGovernment