Byron Shire Council Commits Cash For 5MW Solar Farm Project

Byron Shire Council - solar energy

Image via Byron Shire Council

The planning, design and tender process will soon get under way for Byron Shire Council’s 5MW solar farm, which will be the largest PV power plant in the region.

Byron Shire is a local government area located in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. Its towns and localities include Byron Bay, Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads.

During May’s Council meeting, it was resolved to allocate $465,000  to progress the PV project to detailed feasibility (pre-build) and procurement phase.

To be situated adjacent to the Resource Recovery Centre at Myocum on Dingo Lane, the solar farm is expected to generate enough clean electricity to offset all council’s electricity use – and then some.

Council had previously committed to sourcing equivalent of 100% of its electricity needs through renewable energy by 2027.

“Our plan is to use the energy generated by this solar farm to help Council achieve 100% net zero emissions by 2025 and to be a leader in the region, and NSW, with renewable energy solutions for the future,” said  Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson.

Byron Shire Council published its draft strategy for achieving 100% net zero emissions by 2025 in late February, which was followed by a 6-week public exhibition period. The outcomes from that will be reported to Council at its meeting this month.

Other Solar Energy Projects

Also in the works and much closer to fruition is a solar carpark structure next to the Council offices in Mullumbimby. The 99kW system will provide equivalent to around 20% of the building’s daily electricity consumption – plus some shade that will no doubt be greatly appreciated by drivers making use of the 40 covered spaces.

Rooftop solar is also being installed at three of the shire’s sewage treatment plant sites:  Bangalow, Byron Bay and Brunswick Heads. These systems should be completed in the next financial year.

To date, Council has installed more than 215 kW of solar power capacity on its assets. These installations include:

  • Byron Bay Library (60kW)
  • Sandhills Childcare Centre (12.5kW)
  • Cavanbah Centre (25kW)
  • West Byron sewage plant (50kW)
  • Byron Bay Resource Recovery Centre (15kW)

Council says it plans to install a further 7.8 MW; including the new projects mentioned above.

Byron Shire’s Residents Big On Rooftop PV

It probably won’t come as any surprise that rooftop solar power is also very popular with the Shire’s residents. The Australian PV Institute (APVI) puts the number of dwellings in the region at 14,527; with 5,244 having solar panel installations – approximately 34.2% of dwellings (figures as at March 2019). The estimated percentage of NSW dwellings with PV installations is 19% says APVI.

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.

Speak Your Mind