Solar installations boost sustainability for three Ballarat centres

Girrabanya Integrated Children’s Centre solar panels

Following energy audits initiated by the City of Ballarat’s Engaged Communities in 2020-2021, Girrabanya Integrated Children’s Centre, Sebastopol Library and Wendouree Children’s Centre have been recent recipients of rooftop solar systems to improve energy sustainability performance of the buildings.

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney said the project was part of the 2021-2025 Council Plan’s goal for an environmentally sustainable future that plans to achieve 100% renewable energy in the City of Ballarat’s operation. This project is just one initiative towards that by helping offset building energy consumption.

“Back in May, the City of Ballarat joined the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO) as one of 46 councils, in one of the largest ever emissions reduction projects in Australian local government. This solar project is another great energy saving initiative that aligns to the City’s 2019-2025 Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewable Action Plan,” Cr Moloney said.

City of Ballarat Sustainability Officer, Ching Tiong Tan has been project managing the installations and said all three locations are now installed, with only the most recent at Wendouree awaiting its final electrical inspection prior to being switched on.

“Already following installation in June, the 40kw solar system installed at Girrabanya has offset power costs by around 20-25%. A total of 107 kW solar systems have been installed at Girrabanya (40 kW), Sebastopol (37 kW) and Wendouree (30 kW) between June and August 2021,” Mr Tan said.

He said the potential solar generation for use at each facility and export to grid is estimated at 30-55 MWh each year. This would have annual electricity bill savings in the range of $5,000 to $8,500, and a collective estimated saving of around $550,000 over the solar installations’ lifespan.

City of Ballarat, Manager Integrated Children’s Services, Rebecca Karslake said the project had been a collaborative effort between several of the City’s departments. It has also had significant benefits in terms of engaging with the children of the two children’s centres.

“The installation is a win win, cleaner, more economic sustainable energy that at the same time provides a great learning opportunity for our future leaders as they begin conversations about where our energy comes from and the impact on our environment,” Ms Karslake said. 

“This has been a significant achievement in teamwork between the City of Ballarat’s Engaged Communities, Environmental Services, Property and Facilities Management, Governance and Risk, Building Services and of course the staff, children and families at these three facilities."