Wagga Wagga goes solar solar

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The City of Wagga Wagga’s Energy Saving Projects amounts to a $1.7 million commitment to a greener future over the next two years. The Project’s main tools? Smarter energy usage and solar PV. 

The Wagga Wagga City Council Solar Project involves three separate installations of hundreds of solar panels at a cost of approximately $360,000. 

Council Director Commercial Operations Caroline Angel said the project entails a 99 kW (302) panel installation on the Civic Centre, a 66 kW array on the theatre and a 33 kW system atop the pump house in Bomen. “That’s almost 200 kW of solar power being generated at Council sites,” said Angel. 

KGM Services Pty Ltd, trading as solar Professionals, won the contract for the design and construction of solar systems. The Wagga Wagga based company expects to complete the job by the end of June 2020. 

A plan of how the panels will look on the Civic Centre roof.

Image: City of Wagga Wagga

Meanwhile, only 10km northeast of Wagga Wagga’s CBD, construction of the 120 MW (DC) Bomen Solar Farm (the Solar Farm) nears completion. The first of 310,000 Jinko solar panels were installed in August 2019, and the Solar Farm has a completion date in March 2020. 

Spark Infrastructure bought the project from Renew Estate in April 2019 and subsequently awarded the construction contract to Beon Energy Solutions. The Solar Farm is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2020, at which point it will generate enough energy to power the equivalent of 36,000 homes annually. However, already a quarter of the Solar Farm’s output has been committed to Westpac under a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), and more than half to commercial electricity retailer Flow Power. 

Westpac has set an ambitious goal to source 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Toward that end, the bank will source 63 GWh of solar energy annually from the Bomen Solar Farm. 

“One of the most exciting things about the PPA is that we’re effectively underwriting the development of a new solar energy facility,” says Ceri Binding, head of energy and utilities in Westpac’s property team. Binding went on to say that the bank chose the Bomen Solar Farm project because it “ticked boxes not only in regards electricity supply, but also social outcomes for the local Wagga Wagga community, including a community fund to develop student scholarships, youth facilities and vegetation and habitat regeneration.”