UC is on solar mission with biggest rooftop solar project in Territory

The University of Canberra is embarking on the biggest rooftop solar installation project in the ACT, solidifying its commitment to the sustainability and wellbeing of the Canberra community.

The University has opened a tender process for the installation of the biggest embedded solar project in Canberra at its Bruce campus. The project will install a 2-megawatt (MW) rooftop solar Photovoltaic (PV) array across 15 on-campus buildings, intended to maximise electrical energy consumption offset through solar embedded generation.

The system size of two megawatts of energy, represents approximately 4,500 panels, dependent on the product used, and is anticipated to produce over 15% of the University’s annual electricity consumption and reduce annual campus greenhouse gas emissions by 25%.

Chief Operating Officer of the University of Canberra, Ms Vicki Williams, said the solar project signals UC’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

“A major embedded solar energy network of this scale provides a unique opportunity for UC to establish a scalable microgrid on our campus, substantially reduce our energy consumption, and contribute towards the University’s long-term energy cost savings, which will have a direct benefit for our teaching and research priorities,” she said.

With the project being in clear alignment with the ACT Sustainable Energy Strategy 2020-25, Ms Williams reaffirmed the University’s commitment to the sustainability and wellbeing of the ACT.

“While this investment is directly aligned with UC’s strategic objectives for the foreseeable future, this investment further demonstrates UC’s commitment to the wellness of the Canberra community by contributing to reducing emissions and increasing community engagement in this vital area of environmental sustainability.”

A series of detailed studies undertaken in 2022 identified 15 buildings, including two student residences, across the University’s Bruce campus as suitable for the rooftop solar installation. The assessments took roof condition, structural integrity, switchboard condition, and the export of electricity from these buildings to the University’s main campus electricity distribution network into consideration.

“Generated Solar power is anticipated to be consumed within UC’s campus, and we do not anticipate any export to the Network Electricity Grid or battery installations at this stage,” said Ms Williams.

The University is seeking proposals from accredited commercial Clean Energy Council (CEC) solar PV system providers, for the supply and installation of the 2.0MW Rooftop Solar array at its Bruce Campus, and for a ten-year maintenance arrangement of the installation.

The open tender will close on 30 November, with the project set to commence in the first quarter of 2023.

“This investment in solar electricity will be the precursor in becoming an exemplar in sustainable energy use practices for future development of our campus as outlined in the UC Campus Masterplan,” said Ms Williams.

The University of Canberra’s Campus Masterplan was launched in 2020 and outlines the University’s 20-year development plans.

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