Queensland councils make splash with solar farms


The Rockhampton Regional Council (RCC) has appointed Solgen Energy Group to lead the construction of a 1.3 MW solar PV facility at the Glenmore Water Treatment Plant while the City of Logan Council announced work will soon begin on a 1 MW solar array at the Loganholme Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The $3.6 million Loganholme project will comprise about 3,000 solar modules installed across 3700 sqm with construction to start next month. The installation, which will reduce the water treatment plant’s reliance on grid-supplied electricity, is part of a $100 million upgrade of the plant.

Work is also expected to commence soon on a 1.3 MW solar PV facility comprising 3,042 modules at the Glenmore Water Treatment Plant, to be built near Fitzroy River Water’s headquarters in Parkhurst.

Rockhampton Mayor Tony Williams said he couldn’t wait to see the $2.6 million project get started, with council telling pv magazine work will commence in May or June.

“We are serious about building a sustainable future, and this is a great stride in that direction,” Williams said.

“Back in the 2018 Budget we created the Sustainable Rockhampton Investment Fund to support initiatives that will deliver a cleaner, greener future for the region, and building this solar facility was something we really wanted to try and make happen.

“I’m delighted that we are going to see that vision become a reality before the end of the year.”

A concept image of the Glenmore Water Treatment Plant solar installation.

Image RRC

Solgen, one of the nation’s largest providers of commercial solar power systems, has secured the contract to construct the Glenmore solar PV farm.

The Sydney-based solar engineering, procurement and construction contractor is no stranger to delivering solar solutions for councils having recently installed four small-scale solar farms, totalling 1.7 MW across five of Cairns Regional Council’s wastewater treatment plants.

Fitzroy River Water manager Dr Jason Plumb said while Solgen’s tender submission had been great value for money, the innovative design features the company proposed had also proven attractive.

“There will be single-axis tracking and the use of bifacial solar panels to increase the power generation capacity, as well as using crushed recycled glass from council as a ground treatment to increase solar reflection and power generation using the double-sided panels,” Plumb said.

Councillor Donna Kirkland said the solar array would provide considerable savings.

“Once constructed we will be able to save between 30% and 50% of the $1m per year electricity bill we have for the Glenmore WTP,” she said.

The announcements are part of recent a deluge of solar PV facilities being installed at water treatment plants in Australia.

In December, South Australian utility SA Water announced construction had commenced on a 12 MW solar PV system at the Happy Valley Reservoir near Adelaide. Earlier that month, Melbourne Water confirmed construction would begin on one of the largest behind-the-meter solar power installations in Australia with a 19 MW solar farm to be installed at the  Eastern Treatment Plant in Melbourne.



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