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Australian stadium scores with solar

15th Dec 2011

A Queensland sporting stadium has just completed its Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) project - said to be the largest in Australia.

Metricon Stadium - formally known as Carrara Stadium - has installed almost 600 custom made solar panels as part of the roof's structure, lining the internal rim.

Supplied by Dutch company Scheuten Solar, the panel installation measures five metres wide and 450 metres in length.

Dubbed the "Solar Halo", the system has been designed to generate approximately 275,000 kilowatt hours annually - equivalent to 20 per cent of the stadium's forecast annual energy consumption and equal to the power consumption of 250 Queensland homes.

The stadium itself was completed earlier this year as part of a joint initiative between the state and federal governments, the Gold Coast City Council and the AFL.

Opened in May 2011, the stadium is a multipurpose facility that currently seats 25,000 spectators and is home to the Gold Coast Suns AFL team.

The venue also aims to recycle approximately 75 per cent of its waste, sorting glass, paper and cardboard, green waste and co-mingled recyclables.

Other energy efficiency and water saving measures have been included as part of the stadium, such as high efficiency air-conditioning and water chiller storage, energy efficient lighting and
water harvesting.

In line with the renewable energy target set by the federal government, the Queensland government invested a further $4.4 million for the solar panel project. 

Providing the stadium with solar power came about as part of the Bligh government's Renewable Energy Industry Development Plan (REIDP) - 23 initiatives the state plans to undertake over the next two years.

At the launch of another REIDP initiative - the Queensland Solar Atlas - in October energy minister Stephen Robertson highlighted the importance of the renewable technology to the state.

"We believe harnessing the sun's power to produce clean energy and reduce greenhouse emissions is a clever, practical solution to tackling climate change," he said.

"Solar energy has a bright future in Queensland's renewable energy mix," Mr Robertson said.

Queensland has doubled its use of solar energy in less than two years - more than three years ahead of schedule.

According to the state government, Metricon Stadium's solar roof is "helping Queensland build a virtual solar power station".

Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar correspondent

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