Charles Sturt University (CSU) has begun the installation of solar panels that will provide the University with over 2,500 kW of renewable energy across its Albury, Bathurst, Dubbo and Orange campuses.
The installation will add to the existing 1700kW solar energy generation at CSU in Wagga Wagga; one of Australia’s largest solar rooftop projects on a single site. The original Stage 1 project partner, NSW company Todae Solar, was also successful in being awarded the second stage.
CSU Green manager Ed Maher said on-site renewable energy generation is a critical part of the University’s aspirations to source all of its energy needs from renewable sources.
“The University’s staff and students and the community welcomed the first phase, and the University is looking forward to providing its campuses at Dubbo, Albury, Orange and Bathurst with the significant benefits that this clean energy brings,” Mr Maher said, and added the project will create jobs for local firms.
CSU Green’s Energy Project Officer Gareth Johnston said as a university, CSU created an environment that prepares students to meet current and future challenges.
“It’s been great to work with Mr Bruce Barkworth, a mature aged cadet engineer on a placement with us, as a key part of the deployment team. His past experience and contemporary knowledge gained from his current studies have benefitted our project, and it’s great that he’s studying with Charles Sturt University too,” Mr Johnston said.
Mr Johnston said CSU is focused on reducing energy wastage, improving efficiency, getting off natural gas and lowering carbon emissions.
“This expansion provides nearly $6 million in savings over a conventional power plan so it brings triple bottom line benefits to the campuses and the University as a whole,” Mr Johnston said.
“Charles Sturt University is driving energy efficiency programs and is likely to build some further renewables on campus where possible. We’re also looking to support local projects where we see values alignment and mutual benefits.”
CSU is Australia’s first certified carbon neutral university with recent awards for sustainability, engineering and campus buildings. The University has also won a number of awards for courses and has been recognised by MIT as one of the top four emerging engineering schools in the world.
Mr Johnston said, “This new solar project means that over 7,100 panels will cover over 50 buildings saving over 3,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year over the life of the project compared to emissions-intensive conventional energy.
“The annual energy generated is equivalent to that used by around 580 family homes. Regional Australia benefits too with local clean energy jobs, reduced energy costs, a cleaner environment due to significant emission reductions, and a stronger grid.”