Virtual Power - Large scale solar program
Council is committed to achieving zero net greenhouse gas emissions through direct action. Council’s targets are zero net corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and zero net community greenhouse emissions by 2030. Over the next five years Council will be reducing its own direct emissions through the installation of solar panels on Council buildings, retrofitting existing buildings, installing LED street lighting and ensuring future infrastructure is sustainable.
Council’s Large-Scale Solar Installation Program is a key component of the emissions reduction program. The project base case includes new solar installations on more than 30 buildings and additions to existing solar installations delivering about 1,830 kW of solar generated power. There is an option being considered to provide up to an additional 1,780 kW and thus even further reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The solar energy system is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 4,000 tonnes per annum.
The project will introduce a Virtual Energy Network (VEN) that enables solar energy from all buildings to be distributed across all Council-owned and leased assets, and in the longer term to consider availability to community groups and the wider community. The VEN can become a true Virtual Power Plant (VPP) by adding batteries at any stage in the future, when battery technology becomes more affordable.
The project will generate substantial savings for the Council by reducing energy costs, which is money that Council can put back into the community through the delivery of services and programs.
This project sets up the possibility for the community to participate in a Hobsons Bay community solar network. It is proposed that further work be undertaken to design a community access model for such a network, and this will be undertaken in close collaboration with the community.