Beyond the Blue Mountains and in the heart of New South Wales coal country, under the shortening shadows of two nearby coal-fired power stations (one, Wallerawang, now closed by EnergyAustralia due lack of demand), Lithgow City Council is reaping the rewards of solar PV and six Tesla Powerwalls.
Council recently installed the 74.1 kW system atop its Administration Building where it spends its time charging up the 81 kWh Tesla energy storage system to enable administrative duties in the night.
“The system will also ensure that the council administration building can remain operational in the event of a grid power outage,” said Lithgow City Council’s Mayor, Councillor Ray Thompson, “which speaks to improved business continuity in emergency situations.”
Of course, a price cannot be put on security in emergency situations. Throughout Australia, particularly in bushfire prone regions (so, basically everywhere), essential emergency service locations are beginning to realise the value solar and energy storage can provide in the event of power outages brought on by widespread fires.
In July this year, the Malmsbury Fire Station in Victoria acquired a 13.5 kW Tesla Powerwall 2 battery and an accompanying solar system via generosity and funding from Bank Australia and the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance’s Community Solar Bulk Buy program.
“The battery ensures we can operate and respond from the fire station during a power outage and it can also be a hub for the community at the same time,” said Malmsbury Fire Brigade Captain Tony Stephens.
That the fire station is now virtually invulnerable to power outages, Stephens is happy to note that at times of outage and crisis, “affected community members can use it for communication, storage of medicines, food refrigeration and internet in extreme circumstances.”
The Lithgow City Council installation comes as part of the Council’s Community Strategic Plan 2030, which includes ambitions for the increased and indeed sustainable use of alternate energy sources, as well as reducing fossil fuel emissions.
“This is just one of Council’s projects which aim to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation,” continued Thompson. “The Council and the Administration continue to look to the future and seize opportunities to innovate and try something new for the betterment of Lithgow.”
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