New solar panels on the roof of Yackandandah’s fire station are the latest step in the town’s “virtual power plant”.
Firefighters on Friday hosted a group from the community to celebrate not only their step into solar, but Totally Renewable Yackandandah’s achievement of generating one gigawatt hour of energy since the launch of its residential mini-grid project in 2017.
CFA captain Yves Quaglio said they very grateful and happy to be part of the initiative.
TRY member Matt Charles-Jones said this was part of the town’s efforts to become 100 per cent renewable by 2022.
“We’ve got a whole series of generation sources, and in some instances batteries, on public buildings and the spare electricity gets spread around the community by the retailer,” he said.
“There is a lot of evidence that the scale and the size and the frequency of the fires is increasing and we’re working to try and address that by reducing our carbon emissions.”
Indigo councillor Diane Shepheard said TRY had inspired energy groups to launch across the North East and the 1GWh milestone was significant.
“We’ve generated $99,000 worth of electricity (in 18 months), I imagine we’ll be producing more than that next year. What an economically productive community we are,” she said.
“There’s been an amazing, groundbreaking collaboration and a leap of faith and trust to make amazing things happen in our town.”
Indi MP Cathy McGowan thanked TRY’s members for their advocacy for action on climate change, describing them as “a lighthouse for so many communities”.
“That’s the future – our young people having really good, exciting jobs around renewable energy,” she said.
About 53 per cent of Yackandandah homes have solar panels, but TRY chair Matt Grogan put out a challenge to increase that number.
“We need to remain hungry because we’re not there yet,” he said.
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