Council switches to solar

The Hamilton Indoor Leisure and Aquatic Centre (HILAC) is leading by example and using solar power to reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier community.

Installation was completed last week on a 30-kilowatt solar system with a total of 120 panels, located on the north-facing roof at the front of the HILAC building.

Southern Grampians Shire’s sustainability coordinator Kylie McIntyre said that the switch to renewable energy made sense for the Council facility.

“Running the pools, air conditioning and lighting at HILAC means big energy usage each day.

“The new solar system will generate around 41,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and will prevent around 55 tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution in its first year.

“Over its lifetime the system will produce electricity at a cost of around four cents per kilowatt hour, substantially less than what we pay for energy from the grid, and we estimate the system will replace $5,800 worth of electricity per year.”

The $40,000 system is supplied by Keppel Prince Engineering in Portland and is being installed by Hamilton based company, Finchetts.

This installation is one in a series of environmental sustainability improvements being made by the Southern Grampians Shire Council.
Installation began last month on the replacement of 80-watt mercury vapour lights in the shire with 18 watt LED lights.

Council expects to save around $70,000 per year on electricity and maintenance by changing over to LED lights, as well as preventing around 380 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

This project was funded by the Australian Government and the Local Government Infrastructure Program.

In 2012/13 Council changed over 168 halogen down-lights in the Hamilton library and about 70 in the Hamilton Visitor Information Centre to LED lights.
In 2013/14, this project continued with Council’s Brown St offices, replacing 36 watt fluorescent tubes with 18 watt LED tubes. These LED tubes are not only brighter and more energy efficient, but they also have a far longer life, resulting in a significant saving on light replacement over time.