So­lar for Dar­num Re­serve

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - FESTIVAL GARDENS -

im­prov­ing sus­tain­abil­ity of lo­cal com­mu­nity groups.

Depart­ment of Environment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning (DELWP) project man­ager Mick Dort­mans said more than 30 pub­lic build­ings and sport and recre­ation fa­cil­i­ties run by vol­un­teer com­mit­tees of man­age­ment in Baw Baw, La­trobe City and Welling­ton Shires are el­i­gi­ble for this fund­ing, which is be­ing rolled out in stages across those shires.

“An­other 23 Gipp­s­land halls and re­serves are get­ting ready for their so­lar power in­stal­la­tions and oth­ers may still be added to the list,” he said.

“Lo­cal con­trac­tors are in­stalling the sys­tems and they also pro­vide any af­ter-in­stal­la­tion care needed.

“DELWP will in­stall so­lar an­a­lyt­ics at each site to mon­i­tor the new sys­tems and how they’re op­er­at­ing.”

Flynn com­mu­nity hall, which is utilised by sev­eral com­mu­nity groups, had its power bills re­duced by 65 per cent af­ter in­stal­la­tion of a 3.6 kw sys­tem on the hall in Septem­ber.

At Gor­man­dale Recre­ation Re­serve a 20kw sys­tem was in­stalled, plus a smart switch for their many hot wa­ter sys­tems so they only heat dur­ing the day when the so­lar sys­tem is gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity.

“Just switch­ing the hot wa­ter has re­duced the cost of wa­ter heat­ing by 50 per cent,” Mr Dort­mans said.

“And at Toongab­bie Rec Re­serve, the com­mit­tee of man­age­ment has al­ready saved money by us­ing so­lar en­ergy and es­ti­mated sav­ings over 12 months will be 65 per cent of pre­in­stal­la­tion costs.

“Their sys­tem will pay for it­self in four years.”

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