More Solar Power For Goulburn Mulwaree Council

Goulburn council - solar energy

Image: Stocksnap

Last week, New South Wales’ Goulburn Mulwaree Council voted to install solar panels on a new warehouse building – and it seems there’s plenty more PV in the pipeline.

The installation will be a 45KW solar power system at Council’s Operations Centre in Hetherington Street that will directly power the facility, with surplus electricity being exported to the mains grid.

“The recommendation was supported by all Councillors and I am pleased to see reports like this coming to Council,” said Mayor Bob Kirk. “This will assist in meeting our sustainability goals, and if needed we can expand upon this system to use more of the warehouse roof space if required.”

Council recognises its operations have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions in the local government area. In 2014/15, it estimated its impact to be 12,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent; with a major contributor being electricity. Electricity is also a significant expense for Council, costing $1.55 million in 2016/17.

Council has set a  greenhouse gas reduction target of 30% by 2020 based on 2005/2006 levels and solar energy will play an important role in meeting this target.

As well as the upcoming warehouse installation, Goulburn Mulwaree Council currently has solar panels installed on the Civic Centre, Art Gallery, Visitor Information Centre, Aquatic Centre and at the Marulan Waste Centre.

Solar panels - Goulburn Mulwaree Council

Image: Goulburn Mulwaree Council

$1.5 million has also been set aside for the construction of a solar farm at the Marulan Wastewater Treatment Plant. Additionally, Council is considering floating solar installations at its water storage facilities and there is also an opportunity for land surrounding a new wastewater treatment plant to be utilised for a large solar farm.

“It (the plant) will be a much larger user of electricity and we are looking at solar to offset that. There is opportunity for a 700 to 800 acre solar farm there,” said utilities director Grant Moller.

Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s Corporate Sustainability Action Plan (Stage 1: 2016/19) also sets goals of reducing fuel consumption, with a target of 10% by 2030 based on 2015 usage, a broader rollout of LED lights, goals for reducing gas consumption and waste going to landfills.

Along with Council, Goulburn residents are also embracing the power of PV. 1,736 small scale commercial and home solar power systems are installed in Goulburn’s postcode according to Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator. Collectively, these systems have a capacity of approximately 6.35 megawatts.

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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