Preschool powering ahead with solar panels

Published on 26 August 2019

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Yarra Glen Preschool is now offsetting its daytime power use, thanks to a solar panel installation funded by community-based solar group Yarra Glenergy.

The group, which is funded with proceeds from Council’s sale of Yarra Glen’s former Maternal and Child Health building in 2016, donated the system and its installation to the preschool in July

Yarra Glenergy Acting-President, Chris Flight, said the group had been looking for groups in the community and in business to assist with solar power and other renewable energy sources, and that the preschool was a logical choice.

“We’d been looking for somewhere that, from a community point-of-view, responded to the original fundraising by the community for the old Maternal and Child Health Clinic, and there’s obviously a strong connection between the Clinic and the preschool here,” Mr Flight said.

“We examined the energy usage of the preschool and designed the system to meet their needs during kinder hours.

“This has been our first installation project since we started out, and we’re very pleased to see this finished and helping the preschool to offset its energy use.”

Yarra Glen Preschool Vice President, Tina Calvi, said the preschool community was thankful to receive the system.

“We’re very appreciative of being selected. This solar system will assist us in our long-term viability, keeping the doors open at the kindergarten, which is a crucial part of the community,” Ms Calvi said.

“It’s very early days for us, but considering we’re not open for all of the daylight hours, the energy we’re not utilising can be fed back into the grid. In the summer, it should cover the energy costs of the preschool.”

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Yarra Glen Preschool teacher, Leanne Peterson, Yarra Glenergy's Heather Hill, Harald Dignis, Chris Flight, Yarra Glen Preschool Vice President Tina Calvi and Yarra Ranges Mayor Tony Stevenson, with children from the preschool.

Ryrie Ward Councillor, Fiona McAllister, thanked Yarra Glenergy’s members for their work and congratulated them on their first solar installation.

“It was a few years ago that Council sold the former Maternal and Child Health building on Bell Street, and we got some strong and positive involvement by the Yarra Glen community in our first-ever People’s Panel,” Cr McAllister said.

“One of that panel’s recommendations was to support renewable energy, and Yarra Glenergy came right out of that.

“This project is a fantastic result of the members’ work, and I know the group has big things coming soon to follow this up.”

Yarra Ranges Mayor, Tony Stevenson, said that Council had installed more than 3000 solar panels on Council and community buildings, which generate more than a megawatt of power – enough to power hundreds of homes.

“It’s becoming easier and easier for residents and organisations alike to access clean, renewable power – such as the power being generated by solar panels,” he said.

“Council has now installed 36 solar systems on its own buildings and have helped to install a number of systems on community-operated buildings, such as the Yarra Glen Preschool.

“This not only has the immediate benefit of reducing running costs and keeping electricity bills down, but it also significantly reduces carbon emissions, helping us to reduce our impact on the environment and the changing climate.

“I encourage any community members interested in lending a hand to look up one of our fantastic community-led groups, such as Yarra Glenergy and Healesville CoRE.”

For more information about Yarra Glenergy, visit facebook.com/YarraGlenergy or email yarraglenergy@gmail.com

 

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