Did you spot the solar panels at MDLC?

By Ross Corben

Those folk using The Avenue, Ferntree Gully who have a keen eye will have noticed that the roof of the property at Number 15 is now adorned with a total of 28 large solar panels.  That address is the home of the Mountain District Learning Centre (the trading arm of The Mountain District Women’s Cooperative) and its sister organisation, the Mountain District Community College.

Last year, the Board of the MDLC came face to face with remorselessly rising energy costs together with clear indications of a strong increase in demand for the services it provides for a broad range of people, especially those in their teens. Simultaneously, the Board was very much aware of the Centre’s obligation to the general community to take all possible action to limit and contain its carbon footprint and to demonstrate that it took its environmental responsibilities very seriously. 

In the light of these considerations. the Board engaged a consultancy experienced in these matters to conduct an exhaustive examination of its current and potential energy usage.   The outcome was a proposal to install a 28 panel solar system with the capacity to generate 11.5kWs of free power from the sun with an estimated annual production of nearly 16000 kWh. 

Because the Board is keen to support the development of local technology, it insisted that the panels be sourced from Australian manufacturers even if the cost was to be slightly more than the imported varieties. The panels are therefore 405W Tindo Solar Karra G2H models made in Adelaide and coupled to individual Enphase IQ7A 349W inverters. This allows the system to continue to produce power even when some panels are obscured by shade.  

Despite some annoying delays in getting the project started, pretty well all of which were covid -related, the contractor selected to install the system did so as expeditiously as possible in the circumstances and provided excellent commissioning and follow-up services. The system is now fully operational and performing to expectations thus saving the Centre a good deal of that most scarce of all resources, money!

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