Sharing the power

Two 300 kW solar parks in Bendigo and Ballarat, central Victoria, began pumping energy into the grid in November as part of the Federal Government’s Solar City project.

The Solar City project is part of the Australian Government’s $94 million Solar Cities program and will assist the generation of renewable energy in Central Victoria.

The project is open to 2500 households and businesses in the central Victoria Solar City area and offers financial and other incentives to local residents and businesses. Participants will trial a range of energy efficiency, local energy generation and demand management products and services.

The Solar Park concept will test infrastructure funding ideas for renewable energy, such as, “If the price is right, will people invest in a local energy power station i.e. as a community company like community banks?”. This concept builds a retail transaction directly with customers.

Project director Michael McCartney co-wrote the business case for the project and the offerings being trialled, built the retail PV Park concept and helped bring the consortium partners, including Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Origin and Powercor together.

“In my view the Central Victoria Solar City project has appeal to all groups involved in the project albeit that our partners come from across a broad spectrum. This project shows how industry, business and community groups such as climate action groups can work together on sustainability concepts,” Mr McCartney said.

“Working together to create new energy solutions is better than keeping distant.”

Householders and businesses will be able to get involved and acquire energy efficiency services, local renewable energy generation and demand management products.

Each park is expected to produce enough renewable energy to provide 150 households with solar power which is approximately the equivalent of the households installing a two kilowatt solar PV system on their roof.