Solar energy system opportunity for leased Council buildings

In partnership with Australian Energy Foundation, Merri-bek City Council developed an innovative mechanism which provides tenants of Council-owned buildings with the opportunity to benefit from cost savings through the installation of solar panels.

To date 189kW of solar energy has been installed on 14 participating community buildings providing tenants net savings of over $800 on average each year. In 2017 the program was awarded the United Nations Association of Australia Environment Day Clean Energy award.

Tenants of Council-owned buildings, where the tenant pays their own electricity bills, are invited to register their interest in the program with Council. See contact details below.


How does it work?

Moreland City Council pays the upfront cost to install a solar energy system and tenants will repay this over an agreed period (usually 7-10 years) using only the savings from the electricity bills.

The repayment charge is structured to be less than the electricity savings, which means tenants will have overall reduced energy costs immediately with no upfront costs.

After the agreed period the charge would cease and tenants would receive 100% of the savings from the solar. Council will then continue to own, operate and maintain the solar energy system with no further obligation to the tenant. Council will organise financial modelling utilising energy consumption data, potential system size and quotes from suppliers and the environmental charge would be calculated to ensure that the charge is always less than the savings.

Suppliers will be chosen through Council’s procurement process. This will ensure good quality panels are selected from reputable retailers and installers meeting Councils minimum standards. This also saves tenants the headache of chasing quotes and the confusion of different products and offers.

If either the tenant or Council choose not to renew the lease the solar panels will remain on the building and the exiting tenant will not be liable for any future repayments. The environmental charge would be transferred to the new tenant.


How will the tenant benefit?

  • Council arrange site visits and solar quotes for participating community groups.
  • An agreement is created for the group and support throughout the process as required.
  • Immediate reduction in electricity bills following install – save hundreds of dollars per year.
  • No need to bear the upfront cost of solar panels, Council provides funds at zero interest. Tenants are cash flow positive from day one.
  • Tenants retain the feed-in-tariff (the amount you are paid for selling energy to the grid).
  • Once the solar panels have been paid off, tenants will reap the full savings benefits of having the solar installed – analysis from our test case indicates potential savings of 30% on energy bills.
  • Maintenance of the solar panels is Council’s responsibility for the full lifetime of the system.
  • Reduced environmental impact, contribute to Merri-bek community’s zero carbon transition


Who has participated?

Participating Community Groups Solar kW
Fawkner Bowls Club 17.5
Lake Park Kindergarten 5.5
Denzil Don Kindergarten 9
Barry Beckett Children's Centre 21.5
Shirley Robertson Childcare 15
Brunswick Bowls Club 20
Reynard Street Neighbourhood House 6.5
Anne Sgro Children’s Centre 21
Coburg Table Tennis Club 11
Glenroy Bowls Club 21
Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre 17.5
Dunstan Reserve Child Care Centre 11
Moomba Park Kindergarten 5.3
Brunswick Velodrome 7.2



If you are a community group leasing a council owned premises, you may be eligible to participate in the program. For more information please email


Case study: Brunswick Bowls Club

In 2017, Brunswick Bowls Club was able to install 72 solar panels at no upfront cost through the ‘Solar upgrades for council leased buildings’ program. Since then, the system has already reduced their carbon impact by over 150 tonnes and saved the club thousands off their electricity bills.

Estimated annual savings from solar $5459
Annual repayment amount $4000
Estimated annual savings after repayment $1459

 Brunswick Bowls Solar