Solar Power Push For Sydney’s Northern Beaches

Manly solar installation

Manly Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton Aquatic Centre solar panel installation

Northern Beaches Council has just installed its largest solar power system to date and is encouraging residents to join the solar energy revolution.

At 265kW capacity, the installation at Manly Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton Aquatic Centre is also one of the largest systems in the local government area and has doubled the amount of Council’s PV capacity. The installation is expected to generate equivalent to nearly a quarter of the centre’s electricity requirements.

Around 400kW of solar panels have been installed on seven Council sites in the past year, with the other systems being:

  • Glen Street Library -50kW
  • Manly Senior Citizens Centre – 20kW
  • Boondah Depot – 20kW (additional system)
  • Belrose Children’s Centre – 20kW
  • Harbourview Children’s Centre – 15kW
  • Kangaroo Street Children’s Centre – 10kW

There could be more PV in the pipeline as some of the goals included in the Northern Beaches Environment and Climate Change Strategy 2040 include:

  • A 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2040
  • Net zero emissions by 2045 (aspirational – 2030)
  • All suitable Council sites being powered by renewable electricity by 2030

Solar Uptake Still Sluggish In Northern Beaches

Council has noted there are a lot of rooftops in its region lacking solar panels.

“In fact, less than 14 percent of compatible homes across the Northern Beaches have solar installed”

With regard to solar panels in Manly specifically, our location database indicates just 3% have systems installed. The NSW average as at September last year according to the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) was 20.4%.

But there is interest in the bill-busting technology in the Northern Beaches area – a recent council co-presented webinar on home sustainability was pretty popular, with more than 100 attendees. When attendees were asked about their motivations, the responses:

  • Reduce carbon emissions – 71%
  • Save money – 74%
  • Become self-sufficient – 44%

Hopefully Council’s lead and support will result in more uptake in the Northern Beaches region – it has a lot of work to do as Council has set its sights on seeing 50% of suitable premises with solar panels installed by 2030.

It’s certainly worth it for Northern Beaches residents to install panels – according to SQ’s solar and battery calculator, a 6.6kW system without energy storage installed in Manly will achieve a simple payback in around 3 years, 8 months based on the calculator’s default settings and assuming good quality components, competently installed.

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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