All posts by Alicia Quaglio

Community Energy Hub Launch

Great excitement was afoot in the Yackandandah Public Hall on Thursday night as the Yackandandah Community Energy Hub was launched!

TRY committee members, Indigo Power board members and Mondo representatives celebrate the product of all their hard work: a community energy hub! Photo: TRY

A full house listened to Cathy McGowan AO, Cr Jenny O’Connor (Mayor of Indigo Shire), Matthew Charles-Jones (TRY Chairperson), Rod Jones (Manager, Distributed Energy Resources of Mondo) and Ben McGowan (Managing Director of Indigo Power) speak about the energy hub. Matt, Rod and Ben then took questions from the audience to further explain how it all worked.

Rod Jones from Mondo Power explains the technology behind the energy hub. Photo: J Milbank

The Hub is the product of three years of hard work by TRY, Mondo and the newly formed Indigo Power. Most excitedly residents will now be able to trade locally generated renewable energy.

It is essentially a means by which energy can be traded within the region and consists of a competitive retail tariff and Indigo Power will return 50% of profits to clean energy and community projects in local towns.

This means that Indigo Power patrons generating excess solar will get paid for it via a feed-in tariff and their Indigo Power neighbours can purchase that power. Power that can’t be supplied locally is imported from the grid and is fully carbon offset. As community-scale storage and generation projects are added to the local mini-grid, more local energy will be available for trading, and it all contributes to the 2022 goal – 100% local renewable energy!

It was a full house for the launch of the Yackandandah Community Energy Hub at the Yackandandah Public Hall. Photo: J Milbank

TRY are very pleased to have a very diverse range of contributors, ranging from business, state and local government, to make the energy hub a reality. If you’re a Yackandandah resident, you can get further information and sign up by going to

And how about letting everyone know about this momentous Yack milestone – talk to your neighbours about the new retail offer, and if you can help spread the word around Yack via brochures or letterboxing, please email TRY at [email protected]

For those who live outside the Yackandandah boundaries, your turn is coming. Other hubs will be launched around the north-east Victorian region in early 2020 – watch this space for more news!

Launch of the Yackandandah virtual power plant

Representatives from the hall committees, TRY, Selectronic and Indigo Shire celebrated the launch of the VPP at the Yack Public Hall today. Photo: TRY

We had a terrific and intimate celebration in Yack today to flag the completion of 10 solar installations on public buildings, three of which have batteries.

After five years of sustained effort ten public buildings have a combined total of 74.8 kW of solar panels and 36 kWh of batteries, including the Public Hall, Sports Park, CFA, Museum, Masonic Hall, Health Service and the Osbornes Flat, Wooragee and Bruarong Halls, and the Indigo Valley CFA. These systems are all linked by the electricity grid and the Ubi smart energy controller, and soon also the community energy retailer, Indigo Power.

They form a series of small, distributed solar and battery installations
that are contributing renewable power to the grid around Yackandandah. Each on it’s own is not very large, but combined they contribute a significant amount to powering our town and act as a virtual power plant.

This project was made possible with inputs from the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, plus: TRY, Indigo Shire, Into Our Hands Foundation, Various Hall Committees, YCDCo, Selectronic Australia, Indigo Power and the Yackandandah Folk Festival. Big support also from solar professionals, Solar Integrity.

Launching Kangaloola’s fantastic new battery system

Sponsors, TRY members and Chris Lehmann from Kangaloola celebrating the battery launch. Photo: M Charles-Jones

We had a second little celebration today, this one a very quiet affair out at the Kangaloola Wildlife Shelter – to celebrate the completion of a fund raising push (and now installation) to double the size of the off-grid battery storage: from 16kWh to 32kWh to meet the expanding demand associated with more wildlife carers!

Amongst the sharing by funding contributors, we learnt that the system now saves over $9000/year in generator fuel. They also now run a water pressure pump and a mobile phone booster. And the gas boosted solar hot water system has shifted consumption from one 45kg gas bottle every 6 weeks to 1 every 12 months.

Cool outcomes!

Thanks to YCDCo, YCC, Solar Integrity and Indigo Speakers.

Check out TRY’s new Power to Change video

TRY has documented some of the inspiring motivations and actions for our 100% target. Check out the following two videos which show how far we’ve come in 5 years.

Part A: Helen and Denis tell their story. Image: TRY

Yackandandah is full of many little amazing stories of energy transition. What happens when a household (and a town) becomes conscious about  energy? Welcome to Part A of a renewable energy makeover with Helen and Denis… filmed in 2015 and goodness how time travels so mighty quick.

The Power to Change video – Part A: Beginning a home energy transformation

Part B-1: Helen and Denis monitor their household energy generation and use. Image: TRY

Four years later the town is well on the way with their ambitious renewable energy target. Catch up with Helen and Denis, and the village, on their calm and creative transition to clean local power and their desire to be part of a change for the world. Guest contributions from Rock Legend, Shane  Howard.

The Power to Change video – Part B

TRY’s NEW Energy Coaching service!

Our energy coaches can help you work out how to save energy. Photo: N Jones

Keen to do more in your home to reduce your carbon footprint? Not sure where to start? Did you know that heating, cooling and water heating generally account for more than 60% of household energy consumption. Small changes in these areas can make a big difference.

To help understand what you can do, TRY is launching our new Energy Coaching service. Volunteer Energy Coaches will be available for one-on-one home visits to chat to you about options for reducing your energy consumption.

If you would like to know more about this service please check out the  Energy Coaching page under Resources in the menu above, or contact Donna Jones on 0428 423 072.

Public Hall solar and battery installation comes online

The solar panels on the Yackandandah Public Hall. Photo: M Charles-Jones

Happy days for the Yack Public Hall after 5 years of concerted effort. The hall now has 11 kW of solar PV, and a premium SP Pro battery inverter, paired with 10 kWh of battery storage.

Big thanks to the Vic Government, Yack Folk Festival, Indigo Shire, Selectronic Australia and the Hall Committee. Award winning Solar Integrity employee, Luke Fraser, pictured here leading the awesome installation team.

Luke Fraser installing the inverters and battery system inside the hall. Photo: M Charles-Jones

This installation is part of our virtual power plant (VPP), connected via the Mondo Ubi, and further building up our mini-grid. And what an awesome late winters day to start crafting home brewed power.

Clean Energy Council Awards 2019

On July 30, Mondo won the Clean Energy Council’s prestigious Community Engagement Award for their partnership with TRY. The award recognises the commitment displayed by both parties in the pursuit of 100% clean renewable electricity. The journey reached a significant milestone in February this year when Yackandandah’s mini grid collectively generated 1GWh of renewable electricity. This accounts for approximately 25% of the town’s energy sourced from the sun and represents $160,000+ in community energy cost savings.

Bobbi McKibbin (Solar Integrity), Matthew Charles-Jones (TRY) and Cathy McGowan (Former Independent Member for Indi) at the CEC awards night.

Mondo thanks everyone in Yackandandah, in particular the commitment and courage shown by everyone who purchased an energy system with them. This is particularly the case for people who have participated in the micro grids at both Yackandandah Heights on Racecourse Road and for those in the Osbornes Flat/Ben Valley communities.  Thanks also go to Solar Integrity, the partnering solar installer, who have been a significant contributor to the work.

Further success was also evident with AusNet Services winning the Clean Energy Council’s Innovation Award.  That award recognised the nationally relevant ARENA-funded research by the University of New South Wales with the 14-household micro grid in Osbornes Flat/Ben Valley.

Congratulations to Mondo and AusNet Services, and Solar Integrity and a shout out to a massive range of people in Yack. TRY feels a little proud, humble and thankful. Big on clean energy with local people (and planet) at the heart!

Energy efficient hot water!

Indigo Power and Totally Renewable Yackandandah are  conducting a Regional Bulk Buy of two energy-efficient hot water systems (HWS): Reclaim CO2 heat pumps and Apricus evacuated tube solar HWS. For the bulk buy offer we have partnered with Solar Integrity, Reclaim and Apricus to present a good price and use local tradespeople to do the installations.

Come along to a local town hall meeting and find out more:
When: Wednesday 17 July, 6:30pm
Where: Yackandandah Courthouse, 4 William St. Yackandandah, VIC 3749

With generous government rebates, it’s worth looking into and a key part of the push to 100% renewables.

The Bulk Buy offer is open until 18 October. For more information or to express your interest, go here. For specific questions contact [email protected]


Now more than ever, we need ambitious projects that tackle climate change and support community.


TRY is currently working hard to make Australia’s first community-owned medium-scale battery become a reality at the site of the old Yackandandah Saw Mill. The 250 kWh battery will be charged by the sun during the day, and will power up to 30 Yackandandah homes during the evening. But batteries are expensive, and the system will not pay for itself unless the cost of the battery is subsidised by $150,000.

The good news is that $40,000 has already been pledged (hooray!) Can you help us raise the rest?

Into Our Hands Foundation has set-up a tax-deductible fund just for TRY members to donate to this project. You can donate by visiting this link.

The donation platform issues a tax receipt immediately.

This battery will be the first of its kind, and perhaps our most important step yet toward 100% renewable Yack. Let’s dig deep to make it happen!

Battery installed at the Yack CFA

Yack CFA volunteers with their new 13kWh LG Chem Resu battery

No sign of fires for the Yack CFA volunteers, but they were greeted with the final piece of their energy system: a 13 kWh LG Chem Resu battery…. Hoorah!

An upgrade of the Yackandandah CFA station has been ongoing for a while; the changes started with the installation of an energy efficient split system air-conditioner and LED lighting. In 2018 the inefficient electric hot water system (HWS) was replaced with a reliable bottled gas instantaneous unit to provide for the infrequent use of hot water. And now they have 18 x 335 W LG solar panels and a 13 kWh battery. The battery inverter effectively allows operations as a standalone facility, though as it is a three-phase system, the site will still draw from the grid on the other two circuits during normal operations.

Solar Integrity personnel installing the new battery

The additions reduce running costs, make the CFA more resilient in times of emergency and capable of off-grid functionality – a definite plus during a bushfire.