Solar Savings For Mitchell Shire Council In Seymour

Seymour Victoria - solar energy

Image: Mitchell Shire Council

Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre in Victoria’s Mitchell Shire is now sporting a 99kW solar power system. We’ll just have to assume that’s what the folks in the photo above are pointing to.

322 solar panels have been installed on the rooftop of the building in a project that was fully completed late last month; a collaborative effort between Mitchell Shire Council and Mitchell Community Energy.

The Centre is located in Chittick Park, the town’s sporting precinct, and chews through around $277 worth of electricity per day, or $101,105 per annum.

“These solar panels will help reduce the costs associated with running the Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre and will help environmentally,” said Mitchell Shire Mayor, Councillor Bill Chisholm. “As a Council, we strive to lead by example when it comes to our environment.”

The Agenda from Council’s February meeting estimates a payback of approximately 5 years, while announcement of completion notes a 3.5 year payback for the $117,000 project. So, electricity bill savings per year will be in the $23,000 to $33,000 range, depending on which payback period is correct.

Mitchell Shire And Solar Energy

The Mitchell Shire Council area is situated around 40 kilometres north of Melbourne. In addition to Seymour, among its other localities with significant populations are Broadford, Kilmore and Wallan. Mitchell Shire is apparently one of Victoria’s fastest growing outer metropolitan municipalities, with its current population of 49,000 expected to increase to 270,000 in the next 25-30 years.

With that increase in population will come an increase in demand for Council services and that means an increase in energy use; so perhaps we’ll see Council utilising solar energy more in the future. The Seymour installation isn’t the first solar power system for Mitchell Shire Council. The announcement notes other systems in place include installations at Greater Beveridge Community Centre and  Clonbinane Hall – capacities of both not noted.

Across the Shire, approximately 24.5% of dwellings have solar power systems installed according to APVI. Of the estimated 18MW of solar capacity installed as at June this year, a bit over 15.5MW was represented by small scale systems under 10kW (4,229 installations) and there were 123 commercial systems in the 10kW-100kW range. There was only one system above 100kW – at Valley Park Farm (231kW).

There may be another large-ish system on the way for the area soon. Late last month, Goulburn Valley Water announced it was in the implementation stage of a project to install 1.9 megawatts of solar on land and infrastructure under its control. Among the 16 installations to be installed at sites in ten GVW townships is a system (or systems) for Kilmore.

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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