Bundaberg Regional Council Saving Big Bucks With Solar Power

solar electricity savings - Bundaberg, Queensland

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The use of solar power has been so successful for Queensland’s Bundaberg Regional Council, solar panels have become virtually mandatory on any new infrastructure and building upgrades where practical.

“While the obvious environmental benefits are a crucial aspect of Council’s involvement in solar energy, it has been the significant savings we have achieved on our power consumption that is a proven winner with the community,” said Mayor Jack Dempsey.

Bundaberg Regional Council has achieved savings of more than $1.6 million dollars on its electricity bills over the past two years.

“Council’s current annual bill is some $300,000 less than it was paying in 2014 even though more infrastructure has come online and there have been significant electricity price increases,” stated the Mayor.

In 2014, the Council’s Clean Energy Bundaberg plan was launched, with one of its goals being the implementation of policies that reduce Council’s overall energy consumption and related operational costs. The plan also seeks to stimulate domestic and commercial uptake of solar energy and clean power technologies across the community.

The Council is participating in Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership, which Mayor Dempsey says will enhance the initiatives Bundaberg is able to implement through shared ideas gained via the program.

Upcoming Council projects for the region include solar panels on the Rubyanna wastewater treatment plant and the Bundaberg Multiplex.

The 450kW Rubyanna project will be comprised of approximately 1,500 solar panels and is expected to save Council $200,000 per year on electricity costs. The Bundaberg Multiplex will feature 100kW of solar panels, plus a 200kWh battery system. Savings on mains-grid electricity consumption at the Multiplex is expected to be around $60,000 per year.

Large scale PV is also about to make its debut in the region. In January this year, Council approved a 120MW project to be constructed south of Childers that will feature 400,000 sun-tracking solar panels.  The $210-million-dollar Childers Solar Farm project will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 65,000 homes. Work on the project is expected to commence in the first quarter of next year.

Residents of the Bundaberg region (population ~ 95,000)  have also been reaping the benefits of harvesting the energy of the sun from their own rooftops. According to recent data from Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator, the number of commercial and home solar power installations in Bundaberg under 100kW capacity has eclipsed 11,000; with these systems having a collective capacity just north of 37 megawatts.  

We reported in May the Bundaberg region was Australia’s top solar postcode.

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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