Tweed Shire Council Beefing Up Solar Power Capacity

Tweed Shire Council - solar energy

Image: Tweed Shire Council

New South Wales’ Tweed Shire Council will have more than doubled its solar energy capacity by the end of this year  – and there’s more to come.

Council says a number of new solar projects will be completed by the time 2018 draws to a close.

” The biggest project will be a 165kW rooftop solar installation at Tweed Regional Aquatic Centres in Murwillumbah – alongside ground-mounted and rooftop solar at water and wastewater facilities,” says Council. “It means by the end of 2018 we’ll be generating an estimated 1,300 MWh/pa of solar power.”

Council will have 780kW of solar capacity in place across 15 facilities by December 31, which will supply the equivalent to 6% of its electricity needs. Some of its other existing solar-enabled sites include Murwillumbah Art Gallery (99.18kW) and Murwillumbah Works Depot and Building C (91.26kW).

As well as significantly reducing emissions, these projects will provide electricity cost savings close to $200,000 annually – and that’s good news for ratepayers. From 1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017, Council consumed an estimated 22,776 MWh of electricity across its 390 sites, at a cost of $3.9 million. 78% of Council’s carbon footprint for that period was attributed to emissions from its mains grid electricity use.

50% Solar Electricity Target

Tweed Shire Council isn’t stopping here – a Renewable Energy Action Plan ( REAP) published last year envisions more projects that will result in 25% of  its electricity being self-generated from solar panels by 2022, and 50% through the addition of more solar along with battery storage by 2025.

Tweed Shire Council also recently joined the Cities Power Partnership, a Climate Council initiative. Councils joining the partnership pledge to take five key actions across renewable energy, efficiency, transport and collaboration to tackle climate change.

“It is the primary responsibility of local government to keep the community safe and we must be united in this,” says Tweed Shire Mayor Katie Milne.

100 councils across Australia have joined the Partnership, representing more than 11 million Australians. Tweed Shire Council is also a signatory to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, an international alliance of more than 9,000 cities and local governments around the world advocating for voluntary action to combat climate change.

Councils also encourages the uptake of solar by residents and businesses in the Tweed Shire region. More than 30% of households within its boundaries have installed solar panels.

Tweed Shire is located in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, adjacent to the border with Queensland. It has a population of just under 95,000 and covers 1,309 km2.

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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