In times of crisis it can be the basic requirements that are needed, and people in Moruya were able to seek shelter in the air-conditioned safety of Red Door Hall during the January bushfires due to ongoing electrical upgrades that have shifted the space off-grid.
With predictions for longer hotter summers, the Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance (SHASA) began the works to develop the bushfire and heatwave haven, and they quickly showed their value.
On Thursday, Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips came to inspect the efforts that provided shelter to locals soon after the first phase began operating on 21 January.
“Only two days later Moruya was under attack from the bushfires and over 30 members of the community sought shelter and comfort in the Red Door Hall,” SHASA president Kathryn Maxwell said.
A federal government grant for the project at Red Door Hall, which is part of the Anglican Parish, has funded 50 per cent of the cost of installing a 6.3kW [20 panel] solar PV generator connected to a 5kW SolaX Hybrid Grid Connect Inverter which is expected to generate over 8200 kWh annually, and a 6.3kWh ‘Triple Power’ battery storage that operates on grid and off grid.
When the power goes off, the system works as an emergency power supply. A manual genset changeover switch has also been installed to allow a back-up diesel generator to be plugged in during longer outages.
The grant also covered two 7.1kW Mitsubishi Electric reverse cycle air conditioners and electrical works including lighting upgrades and ceiling fans in the hall, LED batons in the toilet block, LED lighting in the office and a gazebo. Due to the ongoing emergency works following the fires, the project will be completed in mid to late March.
Ms Maxwell thanked Ms Phillips for her support for the community and for encouraging SHASA to apply for the Australian Government’s Stronger Communities Fund grant of $14,350.
“Importantly this project will not only provide a bushfire and heatwave haven but also help the Anglican Parish to significantly reduce their electricity costs during normal operations as the solar power system is expected to produce 8200 kWh of electricity annually,” said Ms Maxwell.
“The battery will allow the Red Door to store some of this electricity for use when the sun is not shining.