Bringing Power to the People.

A very exciting moment for the Sunshine Coast as an Australian-first solar farm goes live tomorrow, the electricity generated over one year will be enough to power the equivalent of 5000 homes.

The pioneering project has meant that the Sunshine Coast Council is the first local government to offset 100 per cent of its electricity consumption from a renewable source.

The site was developed by the Sunshine Coast Council at a cost of $50.4m, the site at Valdora just west of Coolum, was designed to deliver massive savings and sends is a clear sign about the area’s commitment to clean energy.

The facility will sell power harvested from it 57,960 solar panels to the grid for the best price it can achieve and buy it back at the cheapest.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the forward-thinking Sunshine Coast Solar farm would begin feeding electricity into the power grid tomorrow in an exciting day for the region and its residents. The facility will certainly allow council to take ownership of its own electricity supply, assisting in the reduction of already rising power bills and to achieve a massive sustainability milestone.

“All power consumed at all of council’s facilities, including administration buildings, aquatic centres, community and performance venues, as well as holiday parks, libraries, art galleries and sporting facilities, will be offset with energy from a renewable source thanks to this nation-leading project,” Cr Jamison said.

“We are the first council in Australia to build and operate a 15MW utility scale solar farm which will deliver $22 million in savings, after all costs, for our ratepayers over the next 30 years,” he said.

“Our solar farm is the first, and will be the largest, to connect to the electricity grid in southeast Queensland. It is also the first in Australia to operate at 1500 volts DC which enables it to operate more efficiently.”

Such a project has not gone un-noticed, with considerable attention from 15 councils around the country already assessing how they can follow in the Sunshine Coast’s footsteps.

Cr Jamieson said the project had been developed and executed by the council, there was no assistance from the Federal or State governments, which is very different from many other solar farms being developed in Australia.

Energex Asset Manager Northern Steven Lynch congratulated Sunshine Coast Council for its vision and determination to deliver this clean green initiative.

“We have been very pleased to work with the Council to see this project come to reality,” Mr Lynch said. “Energex sees Grid Scale Projects like this as a key part of our low-carbon future.”

Diamond Energy was selected to provide retail electricity services to council. Managing director Tony Sennitt said it was a pleasure working with such a forward-thinking council and to see the ground-breaking project become a reality.

BUT WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN:

  • The Sunshine Coast is the first Council in Australia to build a utility scale solar farm of 15MW capacity
  • The electricity generated over one year will be enough to power the equivalent of 5000 homes
  • At its peak, the facility will generate 15,000 kilowatts of electricity, which will go straight into the Energex network
  • It is the second largest solar farm built in Queensland, behind Barcaldine Solar farm (20MW), which is not council owned
  • The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm is the largest built in southeast Queensland

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