Mackay Council Solar Project Goes To Tender

More solar panels for Mackay Regional Counci

Image: plonk66

In a move to reduce its operating costs, Queensland’s Mackay Regional Council intends installing solar panels on twenty more of its buildings.  

Last September, council called for expressions of interest (EOIs) to investigate its renewable energy options. Some of the options suggested included waste-to-energy plants, solar farms, small-scale site based solar power and hydropower. From that process, it was decided that small-scale PV would be the best option.

At a meeting yesterday (PDF), Council voted to invite tenders for the project from sixteen shortlisted EOI respondents.

The buildings earmarked to get solar panels:

  1. Mackay Civic Precinct ArtSpace
  2. Mackay Civic Precinct Administration Building
  3. Mackay Civic Precinct Entertainment Centre and Convention Centre (MECC)
  4. Wellington St Admin Building
  5. The Dome – Duddley Denny City Library
  6. Gordon White Library
  7. Bluewater Lagoon
  8. Paget Depot
  9. Nebo Water Treatment Plant
  10. Mt Bassett Sewer Pump Station
  11. Mirani Depot Site
  12. Paget Waste Transfer Station
  13. Sarina Admin Centre including Bob Wood Hall and Library
  14. Sarina Sewerage Treatment Plant
  15. Mackay South Sewerage Treatment Plant
  16. Mackay North Sewerage Treatment Plant
  17. Dumbleton Weir
  18. Mirani Sewerage Treatment Plant
  19. Pioneer Swim Centre
  20. Sydney St SPS

The number of waste water treatment plants in the list continues a trend among Australian councils for such sites to be used for clean electricity generation. A couple of other recent projects we’ve mentioned have been a large scale solar installation at  Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant near Geelong in Victoria, and a 99kW floating solar power station currently under construction at the East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant in New South Wales.

“Obviously, for the program to progress from here, any tender would need to fit within budget, be cost-effective and have an acceptable payback period,” said CEO Craig Doyle. “However, based on the work completed to-date, we strongly believe that any initial costs will be recovered quickly using renewable energy.”

Like many other councils in Australia, electricity is a major cost for Mackay Regional Council – around $7.2 million last financial year.

According to Council’s Environmental Sustainability Action Plan for 2017 – 2023, one of its goals is to progressively increase the percentage of energy consumption from renewable sources during the life of the strategy. 20 buildings is certainly a good start.

Solar power in Mackay has also been embraced by households and businesses. In Mackay’s postcode, 4740, more than 6,969 small scale solar power systems were installed as at November 1, representing approximately 29.3MW of capacity. This level ranked it no.9 in Australia for solar installations.

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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