Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Group Solar Roof Project

Energise Gloucester (EG) has designed, funded and installed the solar electricity generation system on the roof of the Neighbourhood Centre.

This system will enable the Centre to substantially reduce its electricity costs after BWNG has repaid the capital (less donations and grants) to EG over about 3 years.

This was EG’s first Community Energy project. The Neighbourhood Centre was chosen as it had a large roof area to install the panels and a considerable use of electricity during daytime. After initial investigation of the Centre’s electricity bills a feasible concept was developed. A 30kW photovoltaic generation system was analyzed and discussed with the Board of Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Group Inc. (BWNG). Agreement was reached that EG would initially own and operate the system while BWNG would repay the capital cost through purchase of electricity. This is known as a “behind the meter” arrangement which is the legal arrangement in NSW.

The system is 120 PV panels of Jinko 270W each in 2 arrays with a SMA 30kW inverter. The panels are on the roof with half the panels facing east and half facing west. This system is designed to generate approximately 175kWh/d in January and 74kWh/d in June. It is expected that this system will generate electricity in excess of the Centre’s usage in 7-8 months of the year as shown in the graph below. The blue bars are the generation output by the panels and the yellow line is average usage by the Centre

Energy yield per month
Energy yield per month

BWNG is a not-for-profit organisation providing Community & Aged Care Services, Disability Services and Training Programs. It provides these in the field and through its Neighbourhood Centre building.

This Center operates 5 days a week during office hours plus some activity in evenings and weekends. Currently, it uses about 110kWh of electricity per day at the Centre. The Centre is now buying the solar electricity from the EG system and over a three-year period they will end up owning the system. This means that in about three years the Centre will be saving at least $11,000 in electricity bills.

Energise Gloucester is a community energy organisation that has commissioned the system and raised the funds for it to be installed. The final design, supply and installation has been by Australia Wide Solar.

Members of the Gloucester community have lent $22,000 to Energise Gloucester for the system and Powershop have donated $10,000 from their Community Energy Fund. Powershop is an electricity retailer that operates an electricity retail package that has a 6.6c/kWh premium included. When their customers purchase this product all of the premium amounts are pooled by Powershop and distributed to projects that they are supporting in Australia, such as Energise Gloucester.

Without the very generous support of these community lenders and the Powershop grant, Energise Gloucester would not be able to help the Neighbourhood Centre reduce its electricity costs.

As shown in the photo, the 120 solar panels cover a large portion of the roof and half are facing east and half west. This means that electricity is generated whenever the sun is shining, and its free. There is also a benefit from the shading of the roof and reducing the building temperature.

Electricity generation by the Photovoltaic panels
Electricity generation by the Photovoltaic panels

The following graph shows the electricity generation by the Photovoltaic panels for a sunny day at the end of August 2018. Total for the day was 87.82kWhours.

Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Group Solar Roof Project: electricity generation by the Photovoltaic panels