Victoria’s Moreland City Council will be making greater use of solar powered lighting to improve night-time safety near several sports facilities.
The City of Moreland is a municipality in the inner north of Melbourne covering 50.9 square kilometres. It’s one of Melbourne’s most populous municipalities, with more than 160,000 people calling the area home.
Moreland City Council announced on Wednesday it will be stumping up close to $48,000 towards upgrades to public lighting at Sewell Reserve, Morris Reserve and Charles Mutton Reserve; with the State Government kicking in more than $187,000 through the Community Crime Prevention Program.
The “smart” pole-mounted solar lights will light pathways, completing the link to and from the sports facilities. What makes them “smart” wasn’t made clear, but it may be that the lights only switch on when someone is in the vicinity.
“We look forward to seeing the Moreland community enjoying using these great sports facilities after dark into the future,” said Moreland Mayor, Cr Lambros Tapino.
These aren’t the first solar powered lights to appear in Moreland, with similar upgrades occurring in six open spaces last year. Other installations include wall-mounted solar lights about the place.
Back in 2015/16, Moreland City Council also upgraded 7700 minor road public lights from 80-watt mercury vapour lamps to 18-watt high efficiency LED street lights. This reduced energy consumption by 75 per cent, avoided 3,700 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually and hundreds of thousands of dollars in operational costs each year.
In January last year, Council began purchasing all its electricity for Council operations from the Crowlands Wind Farm in north- west Victoria as a member of the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP). So, why bother with the new solar powered lighting? Why not just install mains connected lights with LEDs now that all its electricity is from renewables?
While the announcement doesn’t go into the reason why (or much in the way of other detail, such as energy storage, number of lights etc.), it may have to do with the complexity and costs involved in grid-connecting lighting (assumption: they won’t be grid connected); which can be very expensive. That aside, the solar powered lights may also still work out cheaper over the long term than their grid-connected counterparts.
Other Solar Power In Moreland
While Council may now be 100% renewables-powered for its electricity requirements through the Crowlands deal, it has also been installing PV on some of its buildings. Among the installations is a 129kW installation at Moreland Civic Centre in Coburg and a 99kW installation at the Town Hall and Library in Brunswick. By the 2016-17 financial year, Council had solar systems on more than 20 of its buildings.
Across the City of Moreland, many residents and businesses are also switching on to solar energy savings. As at September 30 last year, approximately 6,684 PV installations were in place; with the vast majority of those (6,427) being solar power systems less than 10kW capacity (Source: APVI).