A solar farm at a Newcastle waste management centre will soon provide a clean energy boost to the city.
The 5MW solar farm at Summerhill Waste Management Centre will cover an area of around five football fields.
With some 16,000 photovoltaic solar panels, the farm – on a former colliery site – will cut the city’s electricity costs.
The project is part of City of Newcastle’s 30 per cent clean energy target under its 2020 Carbon and Water Management Action Plan.
Newcastle Council’s annual energy bill stands at $4 million, after doubling in the last two years.
It also follows pledges made through Cities Power Partnership (CPP), a coalition of Australian local government ‘power partners’. CPP members aim to take effective action on climate change.
Ground-breaking project gives clean energy boost
The planned solar farm is flagged as one of the most advanced renewable energy setups at a waste facility.
It includes a 2.2MW landfill gas generator and a small wind turbine, which is currently at the Summerhill site. Solar power battery storage opportunities and electric garbage trucks will also follow.
A tender will be issued to eight shortlisted respondents based on design, construction and operation. The project will then return to Council for approval and funding.
Power generated on-site will flow into the nearby Ausgrid substation, helping offset use and reduce costs at other Council facilities.
Smart, sustainable future for Newcastle
According to Newcastle City Council Interim CEO Jeremy Bath, Australian local councils play a key role in advancing clean energy.
He said with energy costs soaring as well as solar PV costs falling, it’s time for local authorities to take control of their power bills.
“We are seeing a boom in construction of solar farms across Australia,” Mr Bath said.
“Local councils will be one of the key beneficiaries of the experience the solar sector has developed.”
Recent adoption of Council’s Smart City strategy is transforming Newcastle into a smart, liveable and sustainable city.
In addition, the city has rooftop solar panels on eight public buildings, and is already solar powering its art gallery, museum, works depot and libraries.