Saleyards roof to bring in cost savings
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.
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.