Spreading atop an overflow pond, the Lismore solar farm has been officially launched as Australia’s largest floating solar installation.
The 100kW array installed atop an overflow pond at the East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant is also Australia’s first community-funded council-owned solar PV farm, featuring 280 solar modules that are expected to generate 12% of the treatment plant’s energy needs.
“It has already generated interest both nationally and internationally as a model for government and community cooperation, with investors receiving a return better than that of a bank,” Lismore City Council’s Environmental Strategies Officer Sharyn Hunnisett said on the occasion of the project’s launch.
The floating mounting systems were provided by French company Ciel et Terre and installed by South Australia’s company Suntrix. The innovative floating design provides capacity for the solar farm to expand across the overflow ponds with the council’s goal in sight to eventually power the treatment plant from 100% solar energy.
The news comes hot on the heels of an announcement of the South Australia’s water utility 100 kW trial floating PV array on its Happy Valley Reservoir, another Australian project of the French floating PV specialist.
The 100 kW Lismore floating solar installation, along with a 100 kW rooftop solar plant at a local aquatic center that has been operational since March, are part of the Lismore Community Solar initiative, a partnership between Lismore City Council and community solar energy facilitator Farming the Sun, the goal of which is to work with communities to fund renewable energy projects that power the council’s facilities.
Moreover, the two solar farms are one of many measures in the council’s Renewable Energy Master Plan to achieve its goal of self-generating all electricity from renewable sources by 2023.