Solar on a budget for aged care facility

Tuesday, 20 October, 2015 | Supplied by: Trina Solar Australia

Solar on a budget for aged care facility

The regional city of Mildura describes itself as Victoria’s top solar location, with an average of 8.6 sunlight hours per day. So it is no wonder that when Chaffey Aged Care in Merbein was contemplating an upgrade to its energy supply, solar was high on the list.

But as a not-for-profit organisation run by the local community, the budget at the 78-bed facility was tight. Local solar expert Lee & Golding had to devise an innovative scheme, as the savings alone didn’t allow for the installation.

“Mildura is a hot climate and air conditioning is a must for many months of the year, so the solar installation had to take this energy usage into account and our initial plan had to provide for this,” said Josh Lee of Lee & Golding.

The finished scheme comprised 384 x 260 W Trina Solar Honey panels with 4 x 25 kW SMA inverters. The system produces 165,000 kW per annum — an estimated energy saving of around $40,000.

Chaffey Aged Care CEO Darren Midgley said the system has a projected energy efficiency of 87.3% and the energy savings will pay back the cost of the solar system in 2.8 years.

“We’ll save a total of more than $1.2 million over 25 years and an environmental saving of around 170,000 kg of CO2 gases per year,” Midgley said.

“Clearly the anticipated energy saving was the big motivator for us, but we are also delighted with the environmental benefit that has been achieved.

Lee added, “The other benefit of a solar scheme in an area of such high sunlight is that as Mildura is such a long distance from the Latrobe Valley, where the brown coal-derived power comes from, the area suffers from an energy transmission loss of 23.5%.

“Solar eliminates these losses as you only pay for what you bring through the meter.”

Phone: 1300 874 627
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