A new solar system at the Community Bank Stadium in Diamond Creek, Victoria, is cutting carbon emissions from day one but will also help prepare the Shire of Nillumbik for bushfire season.    

Nillumbik mayor Karen Egan said the solar and battery system was a significant achievement for council because it will continue to power the stadium, which acts as an emergency relief centre, in the event of grid failure or disconnection.

“This solar system will enable us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, lower the running cost of our facility and enable us to support our community during emergency events such as bushfires,” Cr Egan said.

“Outages from extreme weather events can now be prepared for with this stand-alone power system ready for the coming fire danger period.”

The system also powers the shire’s first public electric car charging station and is expected to generate 131,000kWh a year, supplying 75% of the stadium’s peak demand. The batteries alone are predicted to contribute 23,900kWh a year.

It will reduce grid electricity demand by about 49% and provide electricity bill savings of about $640,000 over the life of the system.

The system was made possible with $252,000 from the Victorian Government’s New Energy Jobs Fund and the support of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

The New Energy Jobs Fund supports the uptake of practical renewable energy applications for communities, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, drive innovation and assist community groups to develop renewable energy projects.

Nillumbik Council contributed a further $200,000 as well as the time of many staff to deliver the project.

Electricity from the solar panels and batteries will power the facility in preference to the grid wherever possible and also allow it to continue operating independently off the grid during power outages for up to eight hours.