Seymour gets solar powered

Mitchell Shire councillor Rhonda Sanderson, Mitchell Community Energy member Bob Brown, secretary Jeff Wilmot, president Peter Lockyer, Mitchell Shire Mayor Bill Chisholm and senior environmental officer Viviana Halley showing off the new solar panels on the roof of the Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre.

The Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre is now partially powered by 322 solar panels, following the completion of a $117,000 Mitchell Shire Council capital works project.

The centre was selected to receive the system as it is the highest electricity consumer site of all council’s assets and buildings.

The installation of the solar electricity system began in early May and was completed in late September.

Council collaborated with Mitchell Community Energy group on the project and has worked closely with them from feasibility works through to the installation of the panels.

It is estimated the solar electricity system will generate enough electricity to cover the project’s expense after three and a half years of use.

Mitchell Shire Mayor Bill Chisholm said the solar panels would help environmentally and financially.

“As a council, we strive to lead by example when it comes to our environment,” he said.

“Introducing solar panels is an important part of our capital works program. Solar panels have a positive effect financially and environmentally.

“We will continue to work with the Mitchell Community Energy group and look for ways to continuously improve our environmental impact.”

Mitchell Community Energy president Peter Lockyer said the group was enthused about its positive working relationship with council and has more projects in mind.

“One of the projects we would like to see furthered is the centre’s car park covered with a structure-covered in solar panels that would power the pool and possibly charge the electric cars parked under it,” he said.

“Like other asphalt car parks, this one gets extremely hot when the temperature is above 30 degrees.

“With a covering on it, it would be cool, reduce air conditioning costs in the car and produce electricity for the facility and cars.

“We’re looking at an ongoing positive relationship with the shire and developing further renewable energy projects. Not just solar but also battery storage and infrastructure.”

This latest solar electricity system joins a growing list of council buildings with such systems.

Electricity generated by solar systems already helps power places like Greater Beveridge Community Centre and Clonbinane Hall.