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Townsville solar project announced for 2012

24th Nov 2011

Next year will see a large solar project added to a new sporting facility in far north Queensland.

Work on installing more than 1,600 rooftop solar panels to the Townsville RSL Stadium roof will commence in January 2012, according to state energy minister Stephen Robertson.

Mr Robertson said the $2 million project will cover 90 per cent of the stadium roof space and will also be installed on shade structures built in the car park.

"The solar panels will produce around 335 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to supply somewhere between two-thirds and all of the daytime use of the stadium, or up to half of the daily use," the energy minister said.

"The project will be completed in April-May next year and will include a dynamic display inside the main foyer of the building."

The installation comes as part of Townville's participation in the federal government's Solar Cities Program - a $94 million initiative to encourage industries, businesses and local communities to rethink the way they produce, use and save energy, both now and in the future.

The Queensland government and Townsville City Council are said to be investing $15 million in solar developments in the region.

Member for Townsville Mandy Johnstone said a local energy provider was trialling a number of projects in the area to test customer engagement and network compatibility with "smart grid" technology - in preparation for future network requirements.

"The projects, collectively referred to as the Energy Sense Communities program, aim to find alternative energy solutions to better manage rising electricity demand and defer investment in the electricity network," she said in a statement (November 23).

A range of initiatives are to be examined, including demand management techniques, solar power, energy storage, network automation, smart customer appliances and community engagement programs.

The state energy minister congratulated Townsville City Council on its vision to create one of Australia's low carbon cities, which has seen wasteful energy usage decrease and greenhouse gas emissions reduced by more than 50,000 tonnes.

The stadium that will house the rooftop solar panels is a multi-purpose air-conditioned sports arena, built as part of the Murray Sports Complex Redevelopment.

The $14.6 million facility - which narrowly avoided severe damage from Cyclone Yasi earlier this year - opened at the end of June.

Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar correspondent 

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