The next step in plans to make Yackandandah’s energy 100 per cent renewable by 2022 has been revealed as a package for residents to purchase solar and energy monitoring technology.
AusNet addressed packed community meetings on Thursday with an “offer” to help residents reach their goal.
As revealed in The Border Mail last month, a small estate in Yackandandah will take part in an Australia-first trial of a commercial renewable “mini grid” this year, consisting of solar panels, batteries and energy monitoring.
AusNet community energy manager Mark Judd said he also hoped the rest of the town would sign up to purchase a solar starter pack they could build on over the next five years to become completely reliant on renewables.
The starter pack would contain solar panels and an energy controller called an “ubi” to be attached to the side of the house, which would measure energy use and allow AusNet to advise people of the best time to buy batteries when they dropped in price.
“It gives you very clear visibility of your energy use in real time … become much more efficient and effectively reduce your energy bills,” Mr Judd said.
“We would like to invite the whole of Yackandandah on this journey.”
If the trial in the small estate was successful, it was anticipated the community mini grid would be expanded in Yackandandah, and across Australia, in a few years.
Totally Renewable Yackandandah co-chair Matthew Charles-Jones said the turnout of about 100 people at the morning meeting alone was “humbling” and he hoped the community would take the reigns as leaders themselves.
“It’s a really exciting day for people who have been working at TRY because it’s a bit of an opportunity to hand over the baton,” he said.
“This moment, and this meeting today, is pretty seminal in the whole organisation.”
About 35 per cent of Yackandandah homes already had solar panels, double the national town average.
Indigo mayor Jenny O’Connor told the meeting it was a proud moment for her to see the launch of the mini grid because Yackandandah was so far ahead of the rest of Australia.
“I know you do it very much with your own resources and your own commitment to dealing with the issues that we’re facing as a community and as a nation and as a planet really around climate change,” she said.
“We’re not getting the support we need at a political level now - to see the people get up and say ‘we’re going to do this anyway’ is actually incredibly heartening.”