Solar panels slash Council’s grid power use

The sun has been providing more than 65% of the electricity needs of Noosa Community Support’s Facility at Wallace Park, since January.

The large PV solar system also exports electricity back to the grid so the facility’s net grid power consumption is just 9%.

Noosa Community Support (NCS) is the latest facility to be equipped with commercial rooftop solar systems as Council continues working toward its goal of being carbon neutral by 2026.

Mayor Tony Wellington said NCS was a perfect fit for solar power as it operates during daylight hours, and can export solar energy back to the grid on weekends or days when the centre is closed.

“It’s one of seven Council facilities now generating their own electricity, with all sites recording significant reductions in grid power use, lower electricity bills and reduced emissions,” he said.

Within six months of installation, the 50KW solar system installed at the Noosaville depot slashed the site’s power bills by 55%, with Council recording an 84% drop in grid power use and emissions.

In the six months following installation of a 50KW solar system at The J in June last year, the facility’s grid power consumption dropped by 45%, while the site’s power use and emissions are down by 34%.

The results are similar at Noosa Leisure Centre and Cooroy Library.

“The Tewantin Council chambers and Noosa Aquatic Centre have small existing solar power systems in place. Both of these sites are due for new roofing, and once this has been done we’ll be able to expand those solar systems,” Mayor Wellington said.

Deploying renewable energy is just one of the ways Council is reducing its emissions, with other energy efficiency projects, such as air conditioning improvements and the switch to LED lighting, also underway.

In recent months Council has installed more than 300 LED lights in Council facilities. LEDs use less than half the power of traditional fluorescent tube lighting and are more efficient, meaning in many cases less lights are required.

“The breakdown of organic matter in the Eumundi-Noosa Road landfill accounts for just over half of Council’s carbon emissions, and I’m pleased to say we’re tackling this too by improving our gas capture and flaring practices. As a result, we’ve reduced our emissions from the landfill by 18% in 2017/18. Plainly there is more work to be done, but this is a good result,” the Mayor said.

“The Noosa community, with the Zero Emissions Noosa initiative, is embracing renewable energy and other carbon reduction strategies in a community effort to reduce the Shire’s emissions, and Council is pleased to lead by example.”

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