Wagga Wagga Council Solar Power Rollout

Wagga Wagga Council - solar energy

Solar panels will soon be installed on several key Wagga Wagga City Council buildings, and with more to come.

Council says planning and design for the $360,000 project is about to be finalised and installation should be completed by the end of June 2020.

The building to score solar panels are:

  • Civic Centre – 99kW
  • Theatre – 66kW
  • Pump house in Bomen – 33kW

“That’s almost 200kW of solar power being generated at Council sites which will produce significant energy cost savings,” said Council Director Commercial Operations Caroline Angel.

While annual output wasn’t mentioned, 198kW of PV installed in the Wagga Wagga area should generate around 312 megawatt-hours of clean electricity each year.

The contract for the project was awarded to a local firm, The Solar Professionals.

This solar project looks to be the first for Council, but it won’t be the last – it has committed to installing solar panels at Museum of the Riverina and Wagga Wagga Airport, with both projects (capacity not yet specified) expected to be completed in 2021. Council is also investigating the feasibility of a 5MW solar farm.

Other efforts to reduce energy costs include a recently finalised upgrade of lighting at the Civic Centre to LEDs, which is expected to save $56,000 annually.

Just Don’t Mention The Emissions Reduction

Emissions reduction associated with the three-building solar rollout wasn’t mentioned in Council’s media release. It could be an oversight or something else as it appears the topic of climate change is a very, very thorny one in Wagga Wagga.

Council voted to declare a climate emergency on July 8 last year. After backlash, a rescission motion against climate change being treated as a national emergency was passed at the July 22 Ordinary Council Meeting.

The emissions and climate change argy-bargy aside, many of the City’s residents see the value of solar energy in knocking down their power bills. Solar panels in Wagga Wagga can be seen on approximately 17.5% of dwellings; against a statewide figure of 20.4% (Source: APVI).

Two large scale (>100kW) systems are also operating in the LGA – a 500.2kW system at H J Heinz and a 1.8MW system at Charles Sturt University, which was the largest single site rooftop solar installation in Australia at the time it became operational.

There was also a 47MW solar farm for Gregadoo in the works that received State Government approval back in 2018, but current status of the project isn’t clear.

The region is to play another important role in relation to renewable energy – being one end of a “freeway” for renewable energy from South Australia. Project EnergyConnect is a 330 kilovolt  above-ground transmission line that will run from Robertstown in South Australia’s mid-north to Wagga Wagga.

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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