Saleyards roof to bring in cost sav­ings

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - NEWS - By STEVE KELLY

PLANS to fully cover the roof of the Wan­garatta Saleyards with 2500 so­lar pan­els are ex­pected to bring cost sav­ings to cat­tle pro­duc­ers who use the facility.

With what would be enough en­ergy to power 200 homes, Coun­try­wide En­ergy (CWE) is work­ing with the Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta to in­stall a so­lar farm­let on the roof top, a first for a saleyards facility in Vic­to­ria.

CWE will lease the roof top from coun­cil and ei­ther off­set the en­ergy gen­er­ated against the coun­cil’s power bills or sell the en­ergy to the grid, or a com­bi­na­tion of both.

The en­ergy that comes from the so­lar will be cheaper than coun­cil can buy the en­ergy from a re­tailer.

It will be a lease agree­ment for 25 years, with an op­tion for an ex­tra 25 years, sim­i­lar to a 20 megawatt so­lar farm in North Wan­garatta which is ex­pected to have a build start by early 2018.

CWE di­rec­tor Ge­off Drucker said it’s a per­fect rooftop for the in­stal­la­tion that will gen­er­ate 0.75 megawatts of en­ergy.

“It will pro­vide en­ergy for the live­stock ex­change and for the coun­cil too un­der a long term ar­range­ment so they know what the en­ergy costs are go­ing to be,” he said.

“Since our first dis­cus­sions about a so­lar farm in Wan­garatta, there has been keen coun­cil in­ter­est in look­ing at other op­por­tu­ni­ties for re­new­able en­ergy to shore up the en­ergy sup­ply in the ar­eas at the time when en­ergy se­cu­rity is an is­sue, as are fu­ture en­ergy costs.”

CWE is also keen to talk to busi­nesses with large flat or north-fac­ing rooftops about a rental ar­range­ment and pos­si­bly an en­ergy off­take un­der very favourable terms that can be locked in for ex­tended pe­ri­ods.

Coun­cil deputy mayor Har­vey Ben­ton said the cost sav­ings will be sig­nif­i­cant and they will en­ter into a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with CWE to in­ves­ti­gate this fur­ther.

“It will af­fect (yard­ing) fees but this is all down the track.

“This ties in with the coun­cil plan and some are very keen to see coun­cil be­come car­bon neu­tral and this is one of the things that could drive that.”

Fea­si­bil­ity work will now be car­ried out to es­tab­lish what can go on the roof, the cost of it, what the en­ergy cost will be to coun­cil and how ev­ery­one ben­e­fits long-term.

Mean­while, more land was ac­quired for CWE to build a so­lar farm dou­ble its ini­tial size at North Wan­garatta and a devel­op­ment plan for the larger struc­ture is await­ing ap­proval.

PHOTO: Steve Kelly

GOT IT COV­ERED: Wan­garatta coun­cil deputy mayor Har­vey Ben­ton with Coun­try­wide En­ergy di­rec­tor Ge­off Drucker are be­hind a so­lar project that will cut en­ergy use costs for coun­cil’s saleyards facility.

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