Yackandandah has moved one step closer to reaching its 100 per cent renewable energy target for 2022 after 10 public buildings in the Victoria town flicked the switch to solar last week.
The public buildings have added a combined 74kW of solar to the town’s renewable capacity, with the public hall, where an opening ceremony was held, adding 11kW of solar, along with a 13kWh battery and a Mondo Ubi smart controller.
The 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2022 is being driven by a community energy group called Totally Renewable Yackandandah, and has gathered the support of the local grid operator Ausnet, which is interested in how to manage the shift to distributed energy, as well as the state government.
Ausnet and its offshoot Mondo recently won a Clean Energy Council innovation award for the work in Yackandandah, and the Victoria government has contributed $104,000 from the Renewable Communities Program for the latest installations with an extra $84,000 raised locally.
Totally Renewable Yackandandah chairperson Matthew Charles-Jones says the town is getting close to half-way towards its target, and is still confident of reaching its target by the appointed time.
Among the initiatives is the creation of a new community energy retailer Indigo Power, which will help encourage more installations through the use of power purchase agreements.
One of the hurdles thrown up is the cost of household battery, and Charles-Jones said one of the projects being considered by the group is the creation of a “community owned” 70kW solar garden and a 130kWh battery, which would be a first for the country.
“Yackandandah is proud to be leading on what the future of energy will look like,” Charles-Jones said.
“Not only will the public benefit from cheaper energy costs for public buildings, but with smart technology all these buildings will be linked up to the Yackandandah mini-grid.”
“Community energy hubs combine local renewable energy generation, storage and energy sharing, giving our communities control over their energy future.
“TRY has projects underway to add community-scale generation and storage to create a genuine, reliable, resilient and affordable local energy market.”
The total needs for the local renewables mini grid – which will serve around 2,000 people – will be around 3MW to 4MW, with the size likely depending on the success of a plan to replace the mostly electric hot water system with solar hot water or heat pumps through Apricus and Reclaim Energy.