One of the projects for the past few Committees of Management has been investigating solar power options for Willsmere. This is a large project and will take some time. Any solar installation, whether residential or commercial, or somewhere in between like Willsmere, needs to be installed such that power cables can run back to the main power intake for the property.  In the case of Willsmere, this is located near the bluestone cells. Solar panels could be installed on carport roofs and due to new technologies they will be low profile and not require any scaffolding to angle them appropriately.  This means they should not be unsightly or block any views.

There are two technologies for solar collectors, AC or DC.  AC solar cells are much more advanced and allow for a scaleable installation. This means we can install a 'proof of concept' first stage which will cost around $40k.  This will power most common property electricity during daylight. This includes pool filters and solar hot water pumps and all interior lighting.  If that confirms its potential, which we are confident it will, then we can easily and cheaply increase the number of panels over time.

Our eventual goal is to generate enough power that we can sell this power to residents at reduced cost. Essentially Willsmere will become an energy provider and Willsmere residents have the option of becoming customers. During the day we will provide solar power and at night we will be able to provide non-profit wholesale grid power. This is the most cost effective and energy effective method as things currently stand.  Adding batteries would mean we can provide solar power at night, but we would need to generate enough power in the day time to meet all Willsmere requirements and allow for losses due to inefficiencies so they are not the best option for the initial stages.

The benefit of the staged implementation is that these technologies are improving rapidly.  Each newer solar cell is able to generate more power and battery technology is getting better.  Each new stage of the project will become cheaper and more efficient, with these benefits being directly passed on to residents.

As the new Committee of Management is formalised and a sustainability sub committee is formed we will be giving further updates and inviting any residents with any special knowledge in this area to participate.

Location

Willsmere is located at Wiltshire Drive (access via Yarra Boulevard), Kew VIC 3101