Finley’s own solar system

By Southern Riverina News

Finley’s Alumuna Independent Living development will be powered by solar panels.

Stage one of the multi-million dollar development will see six houses built on a block of land behind Finley Regional Care.

There will be 176 solar panels installed on an 11m by 42m shed roof which will generate enough energy to cater for 10 of the new homes.

Baker Renewable Energy director Gary Baker said the modern solar panel system will include some of the best technology available on the market.

‘‘There will be about 50 kilowatts of solar panels initially and the power will be collected by inverters and transferred in batteries.

‘‘Those batteries are super capacitor batteries so they’re very long lasting.

‘‘It’s a big project. Once all stages are complete it will become one of the biggest off grid systems in the country.

‘‘This first stage may be the biggest off grid system using super capacitor batteries.

‘‘You don’t see these types of projects this big out in a rural setting so it’s a pretty big deal.’’

For stage one 176 panels will be installed on a large shed, which will also include space underneath for residents to store caravans and boats.

Mr Baker said the solar panels have the potential to make power bills cheaper for residents.

‘‘One advantage for residents is they won’t have to pay the expense of being connected to the grid.

‘‘Initially it’s not cheaper, because if you’re connected to the grid and paying a certain amount then it will cost more at first but in the long term it’s much cheaper.

‘‘They won’t need to pay for power other than the capital expenditure.

‘‘Because it’s a fixed charge residents will be able to know how much they’ll pay, whereas if you’re connected to the grid it can vary,’’ Mr Baker said.

Back-up generators will be installed in case of bad weather, while the advanced inverters will run weekly maintenance on the back-up generators.

Mr Baker said the solar panels are green power and will benefit from being located in a sunny area.

‘‘Being in a dry temperate sort of climate we don’t have tropical rain like in northern Australia, where during January and February they have poor solar radiation because it’s cloudy.’’

Finley Regional Care CEO Ben Levesque said the solar panel system is all part of how Alumuna is creating easier living for potential residents.

‘‘Long term it will be better for the residents for the fact they won’t be paying electricity bills.

‘‘It’s not just about cost but with such hot temperatures during summer, our residents can run their air conditioning all day and not hurt the environment.

‘‘It will also take pressure off the existing grid,’’ Mr Levesque said.