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Plan to install solar power on Market Building

Image of the historic Market Building in Castlemaine

Council is looking to reduce its carbon footprint by installing solar panels on the Market Building in Castlemaine.

Wednesday 5 July 2017

As part of its efforts to reduce operating costs and become carbon neutral by 2025, Mount Alexander Shire Council has applied to Heritage Victoria to install solar panels on the historic Market Building in Castlemaine.

Pending approval, the proposed 14.5kW solar photovoltaic system will produce around half of the electricity used by the heritage listed building, saving Council about $5,000 each year.

The permit application is open for comment via the Heritage Victoria website until 5.00pm, Tuesday 11 July.

In addition to reducing the shire’s carbon footprint the financial savings would be reinvested into more energy efficiency measures around the shire.

Care has been taken with the design to ensure the solar panels will not be visible from street level surrounding the building. The solar panels will be hidden by the parapet along the edge of the roof.

“As home to our largest Visitor Information Centre, the Market Building is occupied nearly every day of the year. This makes it an ideal location to benefit from solar panels,” said Ben Grounds, Acting Director Sustainable Development, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

In summer the Market Building can heat up to 35 degrees inside. Solar power would offset the electricity used to cool the building.

“We recognise the historical value of the Market Building and are taking all precautions to protect its heritage while improving operations,” said Mr Grounds.

Council has installed solar panels on a number of buildings with heritage value including the Castlemaine Town Hall and Civic Centre. The system on the Civic Centre is a similar size to the system proposed for the Market Building and is reliably producing more than 20,000kWh per year - which is more than enough to power three average homes.

The panels will be funded through Council’s Water and Energy Savings Reserve, which is a ‘rolling-fund’ funded through savings made by other sustainability projects.

The Market Building has historical and social importance for its association with the prosperity and growth of Castlemaine.

A copy of the application and heritage impact statement (P26656) is available at www.heritage.vic.gov.au. In accordance with the Heritage Act 1995, a public notice was advertised in the Midland Express on 27 June 2017.

For more information please contact Mount Alexander Shire Council on 5471 1736.

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