Solar Panels Installed At Port Macquarie Airport

Port Macquarie Airport solar panels

NSW’s Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is another small step toward its renewable energy goals after the installation of a solar array at Port Macquarie Airport.

The Council-operated airport serves the Greater Port Macquarie and wider Mid North Coast region, and welcomes approximately 230,000 passengers per year. It’s the 5th largest regional airport in New South Wales.

While the electrical and structural requirements for the solar panels have been in place since the Airport Terminal Upgrade Project was completed back in 2019, the installation wasn’t finalised until last week.

Council says the rooftop power station has been supplying equivalent to approximately 80% of the terminal’s electricity usage since the switch was flicked, reducing costs and improving sustainability. The installation is part Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s Long Term Energy Strategy.

“Our Long Term Energy Strategy provide guidance to enable us to continue to pursue and implement the most appropriate energy projects, with the aim for Council to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2027,” states Council.

No further information on the system was provided in Council’s announcement, but the amount earmarked for the solar energy project was $150,000. It was reported last year the system would be 100kW capacity and was forecast to generate an average of 450 kWh to 500 kWh of energy a day.

More (And Bigger) Solar In The Works?

Council’s Long Term Strategy mentions an aim to implement one or more mid-scale solar energy projects in the medium to long-term, “when this technology becomes cost efficient to install and operate”. Such a project, should it proceed, is envisioned to be between 10MW and 15MW capacity, and built on Council-owned land.

The good news is it is cost-efficient now and has been for quite a while – but Council doesn’t appear to think so according to this page. However, the strategy document was adopted back in 2017, which is ancient history when it comes to the cost of solar power. Perhaps we’ll hear more on that in the not-too-distant future as 2027 will roll around before we know it. Another option for Council could be a solar power purchase agreement (PPA).

In the short to medium term – the period we’re in now in relation to the Strategy – Council is continuing to invest in other energy efficiency initiatives including more small-scale solar projects. Among the other systems already in place are a 75kW installation on Council headquarters, 99kW installed at Port Macquarie Library and a system of a similar capacity on the rooftop of the “The Glasshouse” (Arts Conference and Entertainment Centre).

Small-Scale Solar Energy In Port Macquarie

According to SQ’s  Solar In Your Location tool – which can be used to find interesting PV-related information and statistics on just about any suburb or town in Australia, there have been more than 7,221 solar power systems installed in Port Macquarie and elsewhere in the 2444 postcode as at the end of April this year.

For residents and businesses with naked rooftops who are keen on achieving tiny electricity bills, there are a bunch of great solar installers in Port Macquarie to choose from.

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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