The Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) has announced a $1 million investment in solar and battery installations for bushfire-prone areas of Victoria over the next two years. The investment will be made in a bid to improve the safety for isolated communities that could otherwise be cut off from power and communications during emergencies. The investment is an extension of RACV’s commitment to providing renewable energy solutions for more Victorians. The installations at designated ’emergency safe places’ will be done free of charge by RACV Solar.

RACV Solar will install solar panels and batteries on regional community halls, sporting grounds and recreation reserves that act as emergency safe places during extreme weather events such as bushfires. The nominated sites are Neighbourhood Safer Places, Bushfire Places of Last Resort and Emergency Relief Centres. Many of these buildings are in remote locations where electricity supply from the grid is unstable and where communities are isolated and cut off from power and communications. RACV partnered and collaborated with local councils to determine each of the locations to ensure it met community needs.

A total of 28 separate solar and battery installations will be installed in communities free of charge, with the first two installations taking place at Omeo Recreation Reserve in Omeo and Rowen Park in Tallangatta in December 2020. Other sites to be covered in 2021 include Yea Showground and Recreation Reserve; Biggara Hall, Biggara; Cudgewa Hall, Cudgewa; Hawksdale Community Hall; Harrietville Hall, Harrietville; Dederang Recreation Reserve; Clifton Creek Community Hall; Barrack Reserve, Heathcote; Omeo Recreation Reserve; Bendigo Foodshare; Wodonga Foodshare; Calivil Hall Recreation Reserve and Serpentine Memorial Hall/Janiember Park.

Neil Taylor, CEO, RACV said, “This is a great investment in the safety of our regional communities, while also providing energy resilience in areas prone to bushfires. RACV last week welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement of the home energy savings package. We believe solar and other renewable energy sources are an important part of a sustainable energy system. In last 12 months RACV has installed solar across its resort and office assets in Victoria which combined with an electricity supply agreement with Red Energy, supports the organisation’s commitment to a clean energy future.”