Victoria’s Latrobe Valley cut costs with solar power

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An important recreational facility in the Latrobe Valley is harnessing the power of solar to help cut its energy bills, with help from community donations and support from state government.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, announced the Loch Sport Community Hall will be donated a 4.4kW solar system through the Gippy Bulk Buy Program – saving the community $1400 a year on its energy bills.

The program was one of the first initiatives to be funded under the Latrobe Valley Community Power Hub Program, providing residents and businesses with high quality solar and hot water systems using local installers.

Under the program, local residents buy solar PV and hot water systems through a bulk-buy scheme – cutting costs and ensuring the benefits of installing solar stays in the Valley.

The Gippy Bulk Buy Program has already helped 42 households and four businesses install 326kW of solar power.

Those participating in the program will save $128,000 a year on their energy bills and $3.2 million over the lifespan of the solar systems, while generating $100,000 of revenue for local installers.

A percentage of sales from the program were set aside to donate the solar PV system to the Loch Sport Community Hall.

The Latrobe Valley Community Power Hub Program was funded through the State Government’s $900,000 Community Power Hub Project, which is being trialled for two years in Ballarat, Bendigo and the Latrobe Valley.

The project brings together locals to develop community-owned and operated renewable energy projects in regional areas.

This program is part of the Government’s plan to reach its target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.

Ms D’Ambrosio said the projects will help to reduce energy bills while at the same time cutting the costs of community sport and recreation in the Latrobe Valley.

“The community-owned and operated power hubs are driving investment into regional Victoria, creating jobs and producing cleaner, cheaper energy,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“We’re helping communities use their skills and expertise to develop renewable energy projects.”

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