Increase Job opportunities &
Decrease Carbon in Atmosphere
Shire-wide Council-led Solar Photovoltaic and battery schemes
It is proposed that the Colac Otway Shire Council adopts a scheme for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery for residents, Council-owned buildings, community buildings and businesses.
The scheme to encourage rooftop solar would support the Council 2013 plan to become carbon neutral, the 2013 Environment Strategy and the 2017 Climate Change Adaptation Plan.
As part of these plans Colac Otway Shire Council is currently utilising two large solar PV systems across two facilities under its Solar Initiative.
1. Council’s Rae Street office precinct (100kW) then upgraded in 2018, the system as a whole generates around 125 MWh per year,
2. The 100kW solar system at Bluewater was commissioned in July 2018 using very high output PV panels (360W per panel) generating 133 MWh.
There is also solar generation from the 29 kW system at Council’s depot at Pound Road and small solar PV systems at the Colac and Apollo Bay visitor information centres and the saleyards.
These projects are a highly visible example of what the Council can do.
The initiative could be extended to other Council owned properties, some run by community groups, for example, Senior Citizen Centres, kindergartens etc.
Installing solar power systems on roofs is a simple way for households to reduce their electricity bills and their CO2 emissions. Also, rooftop solar installation could increase the installed capacity Shire-wide from 14.4% of dwellings (10.5 MW estimated installed capacity) to 50% of potential capacity. (PV Institute: https://pv-map.apvi.org.au/historical#9/-38.8269/143.7506 )
Many residents, while keen to introduce energy management solutions into their homes, may be deterred by the complexity of finding a quality system and installer, or deciding what measures are best suited to their home. The Council-led scheme makes it easier (the trust factor) for householders to take up solar power systems and energy efficiency solutions in order to lower emissions across the Shire.
Pensioner householders could have the opportunity to install a solar system with no upfront costs. Council solar stream for participating households allow them to gradually pay for their panels with a zero interest loan over 5 years.
It is possible for such scheme to be repaid through linked repayments to rate charges, and/or other financial schemes (e.g., 0% interest 4 years loan). This could provide incentives for Shire residents to participate in the scheme.
Some Councils were able to secure loans from Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to help with their solar schemes and initiatives (e.g. Newcastle Council)
Many Councils have developed solar bulk buy schemes for their residents (e.g., Strathbogie Shire Council, East Gippsland Shire Council, Darebin City Council, Warrnambool City Council, Yarra City Council, Wyndham City Council).
It is also be possible to extend the residential scheme to businesses, especially those that are located in large buildings capable of supporting large PV and battery systems. Council could provide some rate relief for such installations as well as loans or grants from State and Federal Governments. This will align with these Council plans; 2007 Rural Land Strategy, Environment Strategy 2010-2018, Colac Otway Rural Living Strategy 2011, Environment Action Plan 2013-2015, 2013 Roadmap for a Carbon Neutral Plan, Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2017- 2027, 2017-2021 Council Strategic Plan.