Solar systems to bring community savings

Published on 19 October 2021

A solar panel on a roof.

Solar panels will be installed on six community facilities in coming months, as Council’s rollout of solar systems edges closer to its 4000th panel.

New solar power systems will be installed on Seville Preschool, Hanson Park Preschool and Palm Grove Preschools, the Golden Wattle Club, CIRE’s Community House in Mt Evelyn and the Warburton Waterwheel before February 2022.

The funding for these systems has been provided by Council and the Federal Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Fund, with Council installing each system.

Chirnside Ward Councillor, Richard Higgins, said the systems will help community facilities to reduce their ongoing power bills, and their environmental impacts.

“Though COVID-19 restrictions have kept a lot of us at home, our teams have been working to install more solar power systems on buildings throughout the community,” he said.

“In recent months, Council has installed systems on three preschools in the Chirnside Ward – Bimbadeen Preschool, Chirnside Park Preschool and Rolling Hills Preschool. These projects, also funded by the Federal Government, will save our local preschools money, while reducing greenhouse emissions from electricity.

“These new systems, and those set for preschools and community buildings, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and give something back to the community, by dramatically reducing power bills for the people using these facilities.

“Earlier this year, we ran a survey for community members using buildings that could benefit from solar installations. More than half of respondents said that they would use savings to update existing equipment and resources, while 32 per cent said they would be able to offer extra programs or services to the community.

“I’m proud that we’ve been able to help these community groups with installations, which will put money back into the community, instead of sending it to power companies.

“I’d like to thank the Federal Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Fund for supporting these projects and helping us to get this work done.”

Council has installed 3973 solar panels to date, on 52 public and community facilities.

These solar installation projects align with Council’s Liveable Climate Plan, which outlines major goals for reducing Council’s environmental impacts and switching to renewable energy – such as 100% renewable energy use in Council services and infrastructure from 2030, net zero operational spend on electricity by 2040 and net zero emissions by 2040.

Cr Higgins said that all the solar systems installed by Council has resulted in a total capacity of over 1.17 MWp – enough to power over 650 homes.

“There’s been an incredible body of work at Council to help reduce our impact on the environment, since the mid-2000s. We’re seeing the benefits of that work now, as we save hundreds of thousands of dollars in electricity bills and watch our organisation’s emissions plummet,” Cr Higgins said.

“I’m proud of the work being done here, and look forward to us meeting our goals and helping the community to adapt to this space along the way.”

Yarra Ranges Council is part of the Solar Savers program, which helps provide community members with affordable solar panels for their home; Energy Savers for Business, which assists small businesses to save money by installing solar, switching to energy-efficient appliances and lighting and; Environmental Upgrade Agreements, where large businesses can access funding to upgrade to more energy efficient equipment and install renewable energy systems with a low-interest loan.

For more information about Council’s work in environmental sustainability, visit

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