Sydney’s City of Canterbury-Bankstown is looking to build on its solar portfolio with an urban solar farm on the site of an old tip in the suburb of Riverwood.
The tender states: “Council is seeking Expression of Interest (“EOIs”) from suitably qualified and experienced Respondents for design, investigation, approvals and construction of a solar farm on a former landfill site (of approx. 30,000m2) in the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA. This includes options for maintenance and operation of the constructed solar farm and may include options for electricity offtake.”
Council is responding to strong solar interest from its residents. More than 9000 homes in Canterbury-Bankstown have already installed over 30,000 kW of solar. Mayor Khal Asfour said utilising solar energy is a way the City can collectively reduce emissions and create a more sustainable future.
Padstow resident Tony Finneran is encouraging neighbours to get on board the solar train if they want to reduce their power costs like he has from installing solar panels on his home three years ago. “Our house is expensive to run, with a heated pool, air conditioning and a heater, the bills were excessive,” said Finneran. “The return of investment is said to be up to eight years, however we saw an immediate reduction in power costs.”
Yesterday, local residents met at the Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club to attend the solar and battery information session. Transitioning to solar can be a bit daunting but the Australian Energy Foundation offer support and assistance to residents looking to learn how solar and battery storage works and finding the right system for their home.
In the last year Council itself has been on a solar binge. Last year Council added 190KW to the 231kW of solar capacity it already had installed across its various facilities. What is more though, as part of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC), Council signed a landmark contract with the 56 MW Moree Solar Farm that will guarantee 20% of its electricity coming from renewable sources.
The Urban Solar Farm Plan
Back in 2018 Council prepared its Salt Pan Creek Reserve Masterplan, a plan to close the old tip and transition to a long-term sustainable future. One of the key visions in that plan was an urban solar farm. The potential farm (see site below), is thought large enough to house a 2 MW solar array with an annual output of 2,900,000 KWh and likely to cost the Council $3.7 million.
Utilising the site of an old landfill is always slightly trepidatious and tests for contamination need to be performed, but such land tends to be ripe for solar farms due to their size and typical distance from residential areas. The Whitmarsh reserve (seen above) is located next to an industrial area. In July 2019 the City of Fremantle gave the green light for a solar development project on the site of the old South Freo Tip.
The City of Canterbury-Bankstown EOI period is now open as the Council is looking to get the project under way in early 2020.