Noosa Council To Crank Up Its Solar Capacity (Again)

In another step towards its goal of carbon neutrality by 2026, Noosa Council is installing more solar power – this time expanding the installation on its Tewantin Administration Building.

The building’s roof has seen better days and will be replaced before a 90kW solar power system consisting of 269 panels is installed. Here’s the building as it looked in late 2017, showing the 40 existing panels on the northern roof:

Noosa Council Tewantin building

Image: Google Earth

It’s expected the new solar installation will reduce the building’s grid electricity consumption by 36% and save Council (and ratepayers) around $17,000 a year.

“The work means that we won’t have to use buckets to catch leaks during heavy rain events,” said Mayor Tony Wellington. “The additional benefit is the ability to slash our power costs by installing solar panels,” said Mayor Tony Wellington

Noosa Council already has more than a couple of hundred kilowatts of solar capacity installed across seven of its buildings.

Council Reaping Solar Rewards

Council recently reported that a 50KW system installed at the Noosaville depot has slashed the site’s power bills by 55% and another 50KW installation at The J Depot has resulted in the site’s mains grid power use decreasing by 34%. Helping things along with the Council’s energy bill reduction exercises has been the installation of more than 300 LED lights across its facilities.

Another facility that will soon get a new rooftop and more solar energy capacity is the Noosa Aquatic Centre, which currently has a 26kW system.

Carbon neutrality by 2026 isn’t just a goal for Council – it’s an aim across the entire community through the Zero Emissions Noosa (ZEN) initiative.

“The Noosa community, with the Zero Emissions Noosa initiative, is embracing renewable energy and other carbon reduction strategies in a community effort to reduce the Shire’s emissions, and Council is pleased to lead by example,” said Mayor Wellington.

ZEN has delivered several community workshops, an expo for electric vehicles and is currently tackling the challenges associated with enabling renters to reap the benefits of solar power. I guess they’ll be a bit miffed that no Noosa localities are included the Queensland Government’s Solar For Rentals trial. That initiative is offering up to 1,000 rental property owners in Bundaberg, Gladstone and Townsville rebates of up to $3,500 for installing solar panels – on top of the national subsidy (aka the “solar rebate“).

As at September last year, an there were an estimated 8,903 small scale (<100kW) solar installations in Noosa Shire (Source: Australian Photovoltaic Institute). Of those, 228 installations were more than 10kW capacity, suggesting that as well as residential PV, commercial solar is also popular in the shire.

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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