West Coast Eagles Kicking Goals in Solar Power

 

The West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers have this week flown from Perth to Melbourne; in order to compete in the AFL within a hub setting. As a result, we started thinking about solar and footy… and whether the two have ever come together.

This took us to Mineral Resources Park, most known for being the training ground and HQ of Western Australian AFL club West Coast Eagles. The ground, which underwent a massive solar installation back in August 2019, is located in Lathlain; about 10 minutes from Perth’s CBD and only 5 minutes from the club’s home ground, Optus Stadium. The stadium is also home to the Fremantle Dockers.

Optus Stadium, WA. Home of the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers.

A Background on Mineral Resources Park

Mineral Resources Park, which is traditionally known as Lathlain Park, is the home ground to Perth Demons Football Club (a club that competes in the Western Australian Football League), as well as the Eagles’ AFLW side! Additionally, the ground first opened its doors as Lathlain Park in 1959; having since had three different names as a result of sponsorship deals:

  • Eftel Oval
  • Brownes Stadium
  • Mineral Resources Park

Mineral Resources Park was redeveloped by the West Coast Eagles, in association with the Town of Victoria Park and the Perth Demons Football Club, before opening its doors to a new main building in 2019. Shortly after, the Eagles swooped (moved) in; following a Premiership-winning year… the third in club history! During an interview conducted by Infinite Energy, Eagles’ club legend Ross Glendinning commented on the new home of the club and its facilities.

We have a lease here for 99 years. It’s a facility built for today, but also for tomorrow. The playing group couldn’t believe [when they got here] the level of facilities they have.

Ross Glendinning | Corporate Relations Manager and Former Player, West Coast Eagles

Why Did the West Coast Eagles Make the Switch to Solar?

The club, which boasts 3 AFL Premierships, has aligned its success on the pitch with success off the pitch, citing the environmental benefits of solar as being a key reason for the switch. The 291kW system installation powers the venue’s indoor halls, gyms and museum (to name a few things) during the day. The installation itself was overseen by Infinite Energy, who have been a partner of the club since 2014; the two sharing strong values relating to innovation, community and sustainability.

What is the System Made Up of?

So, let’s drill down into a few more specific details. The system, which we know is 291kW, is made up of a massive 670 SunPower E-Series Panels. Furthermore, these panels are made in the Philippines and are known as being one of the best makes of solar panel on the planet. Additionally, the panels are accompanied by 10 Fronius inverters, which are also some of the best quality inverters on the market.

So, check out some more photos of the installation below and don’t forget to find us on social media. Additionally, let us know who you support and if you’d like to see your club get involved in a similar project.

Mineral Resources Park Solar Installation. Image Source: Infinite Energy
Drone Footage of Mineral Resources Park. Image Source: Infinite Energy
Overview of Installation. Image Source: Infinite Energy

 

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.
 

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