Sunshine Coast Council is now the first municipality in Australia to offset 100 per cent of its electricity with renewable energy.
The new era began when Council flicked the switch on the new 15 MW Sunshine Coast Solar Farm.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the $50.4 million facility at Valdora, west of Coolum, would allow council to take control of its own electricity supply. It will also combat rising electricity costs and contribute to the region’s clean energy goals.
“All power consumed at all of council’s facilities, including our administration buildings,” Mayor Jamieson said.
Other facilities offset with energy from a renewable source include:
- aquatic centres
- community and performance venues
- holiday parks
- art galleries
- sporting facilities
Solar farm to deliver millions in energy savings
Power generated by new solar farm is set to deliver $22 million, after costs, in electricity savings to Sunshine Coast ratepayers. The savings will accumulate over the next 20 years.
In addition, it will offset council’s annual electricity usage, which stands at about $9.7 million and rising.
Mayor Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm is the largest connected to the grid in Southern Queensland. Furthermore, it’s the sixth largest in Australia.
He added the new plant had garnered considerable interest from other local governments, with 15 councils inquiring about similar projects.
“What’s more, this project has been developed and delivered solely by our council, without any assistance from either the Federal or State governments, unlike many other solar farms being developed in Australia.”
Solar farm facts at a glance:
- The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm is the second largest in Queensland and the sixth largest Australia wide.
- At its peak, the solar farm generates 15,000 kilowatts of electricity.
- The electricity generated over one year will be enough to power the equivalent of 5000 homes.
- Aluminium tables held up on screw piles are used to hold over 57,000 panels above the flood plain.
- About 36,000 tree and shrub seedlings will frame the solar farm’s boundaries. This is one of the largest revegetation projects on the Sunshine Coast.