Hervey Bay continues with solar power projects

6th Feb 2012

Efforts to power Hervey Bay with clean energy have moved a step closer, as the area's hospital is soon to receive a 266-kilowatt solar panel system.

Reported to cost $1.3 million, the project aims to reduce carbon emissions from Hervey Bay Hospital by around 400 tonnes a year.

Energy minister Stephen Robertson explained that an interactive system will be put in place, which will enable the amount of energy being produced by the solar panels to be monitored daily.

Visitors will be able to gain access to the kiosk and it is hoped that the facility will act as an educational tool for solar electricity.

Mr Robertson commented: "Depending on the weather, installation will begin within a few weeks on a solar panel system that will generate approximately 385 megawatt hours of energy each year, saving the hospital around $20,000 per year on electricity costs."

The Bligh government has shown growing commitment towards solar energy over recent weeks, as work began on the installation of almost 1,600 panels at the first community-owned solar farm project in Queensland.

It was described by the energy minister as an "exciting step for the innovative 396-kilowatt solar farm project and the Wide Bay Water Corporation".

Estimates suggest the solar farm will be able to generate 630 megawatt hours of energy each year, which is enough to supply electricity to around 100 homes.

Furthermore, approximately 600 tonnes of carbon emissions will be saved per annum.

Local communities along the Fraser Coast likewise look set to benefit from the project, as significant amounts of money are being spent on it.

Mr Robertson forecasts that an additional $180,000 may be spent if the tender for roadworks is won by a business along the Fraser Coast.

The Hervey Bay Hospital project, on the other hand, has been billed by ABB Power Generation manager Jason Venning as the largest rooftop solar photovoltaic system at any hospital in Queensland.

"ABB will draw from our global expertise in the solar industry to deliver a solar power system which operates at high efficiency, providing a lower cost per kilowatt production," he noted.

This is not the only energy-reducing project the hospital has been involved in, as it has strived to improve its efficiency with a number of other initiatives.

However, with the addition of renewable energy from this system, the hospital will be given the chance to become yet more self-sufficient, Mr Venning highlighted.

Posted by Mike Peacock


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