Solar systems go

To lower the electricity costs and reduce the greenhouse emissions, the Shire of Toodyay in Western Australia recently installed solar systems at the Shire Works Depot and Toodyay Library.

Following an energy audit of the major facilities, Council resolved to install a 20kW and 10kW solar Photovoltaic (PV) system at the Works Depot and Toodyay Library respectively.

To address the possible budget constraints, the Council decided to finance the PV cells in such a way that the savings covers the cost of installation over a five-year period.

The estimated average period for the systems to pay back their value is below 3.5 years for both the sites.

The Council is expected to save a total of $47,141 on the electricity costs over the five-year period.

Besides that the system is estimated to contribute towards an overall emissions reduction of 39.62 tonnes CO2-e (Carbon Dioxide Equivalent) in a year.

“It’s not only meant to reduce the electricity costs, it is more than that,” said Shire Environmental Officer Sabin Acharya.

“The Shire is aware of its sustainability goals and, as a council, we would like to lead by example in the WA Wheatbelt region.”

The Toodyay Library building was the original Mechanics Institute early last century and has been totally renovated with sizable additions at a cost in excess of $1 million.

This award-winning historic building conversion carries a huge historical significance to both the Shire and the community and is considered as one of the most iconic buildings in Toodyay.

The Shire Works Depot is a well-built facility built recently with the Shire’s growing needs in mind and has a great strategic importance for the Shire.

The Toodyay Shire Council adopted an Environmental Management Strategy in 2015 as a response to their local environmental and sustainability issues.

The installation of solar systems in some of its important facilities complements its commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions through improved management and adoption of sustainable operating practises.