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Byron Shire
May 7, 2021

Richmond Valley Radio broadcasting with sun power

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88.9FM volunteer Roger Wood and the solar array on Mount Moonimba. Photo supplied.

Richmond Valley Radio, 88.9FM, is a community radio station serving the Northern Rivers region and they have exciting news.

In an amazing community achievement they are one of the first radio stations in Australia to broadcast totally off-grid.

The station has built and commissioned a 15kVA 48 panel off-grid solar system at their broadcast transmission site on Mount Moonimba which is 100% powered by the sun.

The solar array 10 kilometres southwest of the studio at Woodburn was unveiled at a recent open day where stakeholders got the chance to see the project up close.

Everyone was thrilled to be at the recent open day when the solar array was unveiled. Photo supplied.

In a collaborative venture, the owners of the land, Noel and Kerry Newman, the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF), the NSW Community Building Partnership Program (CBPP) and 88.9FM’s members and sponsors, saw their dream turn into a reality when the transmission facility disconnected from the grid on December the 10 last year.

Station volunteer Roger Wood says the panels produce sufficient power to run our transmitter, computers, air-conditioners and fully charge the batteries for overnight use.

Setting up solar on Mount Moonimba. Photo supplied.

‘We have enough battery storage unless it’s very hot overnight. Then the system switches to the standby generator if that is the case. Since December the 10th that scenario occurred two days in a row.’

The cost of the project was $81,000 with CBF funding almost half with $40K; The NSW CBPP donating $9K; and the 88.9FM community donating $14K in cash and $18K in kind.

Roger says broadcasting off-the-grid feels fantastic. ‘We want to help save the planet from the fossil fuel fools.’

Cr. Jeff Johnson – Premium Solar Solutions principal, Meg Neilsen – Casino Environmental Centre, and Roger Wood 88.9 FM volunteer


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4 COMMENTS

  1. Well done to Richmond Valley Radio. It was great being involve of with this amazing project. It wouldn’t have happened without the tenacious efforts of Roger Wood who is a champion for community radio and the environment.

    We love designing/installing off-grid systems and bringing solar power to remote locations.

    Jeff Johnson
    Director
    Premium Solar Solutions

  2. As a very new volunteer at 88.9, I attended the official ‘unveiling’ of the new solar array.

    I was totally impressed at the results I saw, from the dedication and hard work that obviously went into this huge project … and that the station is now powered completely off grid.

    Great for our environment and the whole community, and a fantastic example of what can be achieved.

    Well done Roger and crew.

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