Bathurst Council Readying For More Solar Power

Solar energy for Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre

Image: Google Maps

Bathurst Regional Council is preparing to have another significant solar power system installed – this one on the Memorial Entertainment Centre; and it’s likely not the last.

An invitation for quotes closed on Tuesday this week for contractors to put in their bids for the design, construction and maintenance of a 90kW system for the Centre’s rooftop.

Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre rooftop

Image: Google Earth

A Pioneer In PV

Bathurst Regional Council has been a pioneer among Australian local governments in PV uptake. Its first system was installed in 2009; a 2kW array on the Bathurst Visitor Information Centre. Providing an indication of just how much the cost of solar has dropped since then, Council states that installation was $26,000; but it received a helping hand from the Federal Government.

The same sized system now would cost around $3,000 – $4,500 after the solar rebate. There’s very little demand for 2kW systems these days – even for homes. The most popular size for residential applications currently is 6.6kW; which cost $5,200 – $9,200 fully installed after the rebate for a good quality system and providing much better bang for buck than 2kW.

Since that original 2kW system, Council says solar panels have been installed on 15 of its facilities for a total capacity of 435kW1. These systems combined generate the equivalent of 5.4% of Council’s annual electricity consumption.

The Solar Energy Road Ahead For Bathurst

Electricity remains a major cost for Council. According to its draft Renewable Energy Action Plan dated April 2020, Council facilities consumed 15,069 MWh of mains grid electricity in 2018-19, at a cost of almost $3.5 million.

As a way of further cutting energy costs (and emissions), the draft plan sets the following renewables targets:

  • 25% of Council’s electricity consumption to be from renewable sources by 2023
  • 50% by 2025

Should the targets be adopted, solar energy will help Council get there with more than a dozen significant potential projects noted. Feedback from the community on the draft Renewable Energy Action Plan closed on May 4 this month.

Across the community, solar panels are a fairly common sight on the rooftops of homes and businesses, and the ongoing interest in PV supports a number of solar installers in Bathurst. There were more than 3,850 small-scale solar power systems in Bathurst’s postcode area (2795) as at the end of March this year, with a collective capacity of  around 21,063 kW.


  1. The draft Renewable Energy Action Plan states as of the end of 2019, Council had 14 facilities which have solar PV installations, with a total capacity of 450kW
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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