Shepparton Council Kicks Off Community Sustainability Grants

Solar panels in Shepparton

Greater Shepparton City Council’s Community Sustainability Grant program could provide a great opportunity for groups to get solar panels on their rooftops.

Grants of up to $3,000 are available for projects that will assist in promoting sustainability within the community. Among the types of projects eligible to apply are energy efficiency programs, sustainable building design and alternative energy.

Solar power isn’t really “alternative” these days, it’s quite mainstream, but it would still be included in that category. Solar panels also satisfy some of the initiative’s objectives, which include:

  • Encourage and support the community to address the climate emergency by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and working towards a zero emissions future.
  • Increase the energy efficiency of new and existing community buildings across the municipality.

Solar panels on a rooftop can be a very visible advertisement for emissions reduction, and certainly help improve energy efficiency of a building. There’s nothing in the grant application conditions I could find stating solar power systems will not be considered.

How Much Solar Can You Get For $3,000?

$3,000 doesn’t buy a huge amount of solar power capacity – probably a good quality 2k – 3kW system fully installed. Still, even a 2kW system can make a significant dent on electricity bills. Installed in Shepparton, 2kW can be expected to save about $480 a year on electricity bills, depending on energy consumption profile. For many groups, $480 is a significant chunk of change that could be spent on other things – and not having to come up with any up-front cash to access those savings sweetens the deal.

Think Bigger System, Bigger Solar Savings

But a group doesn’t have shoot for a small system. If it has some bucks in the kitty to supplement the grant, it can aim for a much larger system that will provide much more bang for buck.

A 6.6kW system is more than three times the size (capacity), but doesn’t cost anywhere near 3 times as much – around $6,600. Electricity bill savings will be around the $1,390 mark annually; again depending on energy consumption profile. With a $3,000 grant reducing the up-front cost to just $3,600, simple payback on a 6.6kW system would be a bit over 2.5 years.

You can get an estimate of the cost and simple payback of various system sizes using the SolarQuotes solar calculator. When selecting system size, just take $3,000 off the system pricing that will appear if you want to factor in the maximum grant available.

Applications for the grant, which close on Monday 21 September 2020 at 5.00pm, can be made by not-for-profit community, arts, cultural or sporting groups whose activities are conducted in the Greater Shepparton region.

“We all have a part to play in limiting our impact on the environment, and we look forward to seeing the projects, ideas and events, in line with COVID-19 restrictions, that this funding can produce,” said Mayor Cr Seema Abdullah.

Solar panels can be installed in Shepparton under current COVID-19 restrictions and here’s hoping by the time funding decisions are made, the COVID situation will be such that restrictions have been further lifted.

Finding a good installation company to provide a firm quote for use in the application won’t be hard as there are some great solar installers in Shepparton and in the general region that service the city – but with only 3 weeks left before applications closed, it’s best to get cracking now.

More details on the Community Sustainability Grant can be found here.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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