Hepburn Shire SES has a new 6.3kW solar power system thanks to a $6,700 grant from the Hepburn Solar Bulk Buy, the sister bulk-buy to the MASH community solar bulk-buy. Made possible through the community bonus element of the bulk-buy, in addition to Hepburn Shire Council’s Towards Zero Community Grants, this solar system is expected to save the Hepburn Shire SES at least $1,250 a year off their electricity bill. These savings will go directly towards the purchase of new equipment and vehicles, as well as help the unit move towards its goal of carbon neutrality.
As a not-for-profit volunteer-based organisation, budgets are tight. “Funding solar from our own budget was going to be a struggle,” said Brad Climie, Unit Controller at the Hepburn Shire SES. “So when I saw on the Hepburn Shire Council website that the Hepburn Solar Bulk-Buy was offering a community bonus for solar, I thought ‘yes’, let’s go for it!”
Cutting bills and CO2 emissions
“We’re always looking for ways to reduce our operating costs,” said Brad Climie. “Our electricity bills are around $2,000 a year, so bill reduction was a big driver for us. Also, we want to have a green footprint. As part of that, we are trying to move as many systems as possible over to electric. Going solar makes sense to us environmentally as well as financially.”
Hepburn Shire SES contributed $1,000 to the purchase of the solar system. “That was a requirement of the bulk-buy community bonus which was more than reasonable,” said Brad. “The payback on our investment is less than a year, which is amazing.”
20 panel system
The 20 panel solar system – which includes a Fronius inverter, JA Solar 315 watt panels and a tilt frame – was installed by Macedon Ranges Solar Power, the solar provider for the Hepburn Solar Bulk-Buy.
MASH solar provider “did a great job”
“Macedon Ranges Solar Power were really easy to deal with and they did a great job,” said Brad. The solar power system had to be integrated with our generator so that we are operational 24/7, 365 days a year, including on Code Red Days. This was no drama for Macedon Ranges Solar Power. They sorted out the special switching required for solar to integrate with the generator and the whole thing was done in just a day.”
“The system is working really well. A big thank you to the Hepburn Solar Bulk-Buy and also the Hepburn Shire Council for making this community bonus available to us.”
Council proud to support
Hepburn Shire Council Mayor, Cr Don Henderson said “Council is proud to support community groups to reduce their environmental footprint and running costs. Many of these groups could not operate without countless volunteer hours, this is one way in which we can recognise and support that contribution.”
Helping the transition to zero-net emissions by 2030
Program partner Hepburn Wind’s General Manager, Taryn Lane, stated: “We have a goal of zero-net emissions by 2030 through our Hepburn Z-NET program – key to this is ensuring our essential services are more resilient. This rooftop solar array provides important savings so that our SES can further support our community.”
To learn more about the Hepburn Solar Bulk-Buy visit mash.org.au/hepburn-solar or call 1300 466 274.
About the Hepburn Solar Bulk Buy
The Hepburn Solar Bulk Buy is organised by the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance, a not-for-profit organisation which also runs the MASH community solar bulk-buy and supports councils throughout central and northern Victoria with projects that help move the region towards a renewable energy future.
The Hepburn Solar Bulk-Buy is supported by Hepburn Shire Council and Hepburn Wind. This is the third community bonus system installed through the Hepburn Solar Bulk-Buy since the program started just over a year ago. Just over $30,000 in free solar power systems has been donated through the Hepburn Solar Bulk Buy and Council’s Towards Zero Community Grants this year. The three recipients to-date are Doxa Malmsbury Camp, Trentham District Primary School and Hepburn Shire SES.
About the Hepburn Shire SES
The Hepburn Shire SES is a volunteer-based organisation which provides assistance in cases of emergencies such as floods, storms and landslides as well as road rescues.
On average, the Hepburn Shire SES responds to 250 call-outs a year. It is also a divisional command post for a much larger area. This means that the unit has to be ready to respond to emergencies 24/7, 365 days a year.