Emerald Going Solar
Emerald began going solar in 2008 when the primary school and the
Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association (DRREA) teamed up to
install a solar power system at the school.
There are now 303 small scale renewable energy systems (mainly
solar) in the Emerald postcode area.
This includes solar power systems on 7 community buildings. This is
more than most towns around Australia have on their community
The vision of the DRREA is that Emerald will become known around
Victoria as a ‘Solar Town’. For that to happen, it hopes that shop
owners will be willing to install solar power on their shops. Then
these buildings will have increased resale value and be more
attractive for rental with the reduced power bills.
DRREA also hopes that more of the area’s households will install
solar power or a solar hot water system or heat pump. They would
especially like to work with more community groups for their
buildings to ‘go solar’.
DRREA can help homeowners, community groups and shop/ business
owners to ‘go solar’. We will organize quotes from reputable solar
companies, give advice on feed in tariffs, grants and equipment.
Some of the funding comes from the community, through the Carbon
Compensator Certificates. Some initial funding has come from Upwey
Community Bank and the Shire of Yarra Ranges, to help set up the
Carbon Compensators scheme.
The Association has set up a system for members of the public to
help compensate for their vehicle emissions. Attractive Carbon
Compensator Certificates are issued for each $10 from all who
The money raised is put into solar power systems on community
See Carbon Compensators.
Since 2008 we have hosted 27 Renewable Energy Forums. Topics have
included community renewable energy projects, urban wind power,
solar hot water, bulk solar panel purchases, Climate Code Red,
energy efficiency and retro-fitting, wave power, feed in tariffs,
micro hydro systems, solar farming, electric cars, Ebikes and Beyond
Other guest speakers at our committee meetings have covered a
diverse range of topics, including the history of coal, carbon
capture and storage, climate change in the Pacific Islands, hydrogen
power, renewable energy in Nepal, tri-generation technologies, Fair
Trade and Canoeing down the Warburton River to Lake Eyre.
Also, several local families have welcomed member groups visiting
them to learn about how they have made their house and lifestyle
more sustainable.(DRREA Sustainable House Days).
Emerald Community Solar Power
This was our first major project. We worked with Emerald Primary
School to achieve the Emerald Community Solar Power System.
Members of DRREA contributed some of the panels and local businesses
and other community members financed the 'Community Panel'.
Also, applications were made for grants from Sustainability
Victoria's ‘Solar in Schools’ and the Federal Schools and Community
Buildings PV Rebate.
In February 2008 the 2.9 kW solar power system, consisting of 18
solar panels, was installed on the school’s roof. Another 6 panels
were added in 2009, making it a 3.9 kW system. Further panels have
again been added.
We appreciate the contributions of the following businesses and
individuals who contributed panels or who helped fund the 'Community
Emerald City Toy Store
Emerald Village Pharmacy
Emerald Village Committee
Emerald Sheet Metal & Metal Tanks
Falcone & Adams Lawyers
Memphis Hair Design
National Australia Bank Emerald
P&M Cook, G&M Eadie, G Gillam, M Hall, N Hammil, C Latham, G Legge,
B&S Tyrrel, J Wood, M Woods.
For more information go to
In April 08 the ‘Belgrave / Upwey Solar Neighbourhood’ was launched.
The aim was to put solar power systems on the roofs of 50 houses as
well as 3 Community Buildings.
Thanks to this project, Emerald Library, Belgrave Library and
Kallista Primary School have 2kW solar power systems and also, by
mid 2009 another 41 houses had had 1kW solar power systems
Householders were able to access the Federal government rebate and
if they wished, could sell their renewable energy certificates,
making their solar systems much more affordable at that time.
DRREA worked with the school and libraries to be able to access
grants from Sustainability Victoria and the Federal government for
help with funding those installation.
In February 2012 St Marks Church in Emerald and the Ranges Community
Health Centre in Belgrave worked together with DRREA and now have
their own 1.5kW solar power systems.
Solar Hot Water
In 2009 we began a project to enable members to install solar hot
water systems. This discount, bulk purchase was for those in the
Dandenong Ranges area only. Unfortunately, the offer was very
Guide to Solar powered Businesses in and near the Dandenong Ranges
We all feel it is good to support small businesses. One step better
is supporting small businesses that are solar powered. Here is a
list or guide to those businesses that we know of. We have become
customers of several and were pleased with the service and products
we received. Please let us know of other examples we are not aware
of so that we can grow this guide and honor these pioneers. Thanks,
Peter Cook (DRREA)
Solar Powered Businesses
Click here for a list of solar powered businesses in the local