Shepparton council set to go solar, as PV farm plans remain in limbo

Solar panels on Shepparton High School. Source: Energy Matters

The regional Victorian city of Greater Shepparton is set to install solar across a number of its local government assets, as part of a broader effort to shift to renewables and cut its energy costs.
A council meeting last week revealed that the $225,500 contract for solar installation on various council buildings had been awarded to Melbourne-based company, True Value Solar.
Cr Bruce Giovanetti said that with electricity costs set to climb even higher, the rollout was “hopefully” just stage one of a more comprehensive shift to solar by council.
‘‘It’s great to see council is taking a proactive approach to ensuring we can reduce energy consumption costs as much as we can,’’ he said.
The move by the council follows last month’s news that four planning applications for solar farms in Greater Shepparton had been called in by the Minister for Planning to determine whether permits could be granted.
The applications were for solar farms proposed for Tallygaroopna (30MW), Congupna (68MW), Lemnos (100MW) and Tatura East (45MW) with a combined investment of $297 million for the region.
According to the Shepparton News, the community has been somewhat divided over the development of the solar farms, and particularly the associated loss of prime agricultural land.
‘We’ve heard the relevant objections from people nearby, which indicates concerns about the science, about amenity, about the alienation of agricultural land,” said Counillor Chris Hazelman in comments last month.
‘‘And in the absence of (state government) guidelines, it would appear that regardless of what decision council makes, either for or against … it will inevitably end up in VCAT. It’s going to make it difficult.’’
A decision by the minister on the Shepparton solar farms is yet to be announced.

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