Ballarat General Cemeteries has committed to a renewable energy future by joining Victoria’s Community Power Hub (CPH) program.
The not-for-profit trust is one of eight local organisations to receive a feasibility study into transitioning operations to renewable energy sources.
BREAZE, the local organisation hosting Ballarat’s CPH, will prepare a business case for installing rooftop solar panels on cemetery grounds. These, along with a small solar farm and battery array, will power HVAC, water pumps and, potentially, electric vehicles.
Ballarat Cemeteries’ CEO Annie De Jong said a switch to solar could save the organisation thousands in electricity and irrigation costs.
“We consume significant electricity and fuel in our day-to-day operations, running irrigation systems, our buildings and our plant and equipment,” she said.
“[We] are […] delighted to work with the Community Power Hub program to investigate how we can move to renewable energy sources.”
Ballarat businesses look to solar power
While the local cemetery is getting a solar makeover, it’s not the only local organisation benefiting. CPH Ballarat is also working with McCallum Linen, a commercial laundry that employs disabled people.
The organisation will look at installing solar power to offset rising electricity costs at the site. Reducing these costs, CPH said, would allow the laundry to expand operations and also offer more employment in the community.
CPH Ballarat spokesman Ian Rossiter said the program “allows us to look at small to medium scale demonstration projects that can be catalysts for local tradespeople and consumers to normalise renewables.”
Six additional Ballarat CPH solar sites are expected to be announced in coming months.
Community Power Hub spreads across Victoria
Three regional communities will benefit from the state-backed $900,000 Community Power Hub program. As well as Ballarat, Bendigo and the LaTrobe Valley have also established host organisations to implement locally owned renewable energy projects.
The program aims to focus community action on renewable energy. This involves local volunteers, businesses, community organisations, not-for-profit groups and government agencies. It plans to encourage green initiatives that help combat climate change, such as increasing uptake of solar panels.
The CPH scheme also forms part of the Victorian Government’s climate target. The state has a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050 and a 40 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.