Wollongong, which sits south of Sydney on the New South Wales coast, has become the latest city to embrace solar carparks. On Tuesday, the Wollongong City Council announced the installation of 549 panels atop its multi-storey Stewart Street carpark was complete.
The system, which peaks at 219.6 kW, is expected to generate about 316 MWh annually – enough to power about a quarter of the council Administration Building’s operational electricity needs. The council’s target is to reach net zero emissions for its operations by 2030.
The solar system is supported by steel frames under which cars can park, an increasingly popular solution for commercial systems in Australia, especially at shopping centres.
“The installation of these panels is a step in the right direction for all of Wollongong by helping reduce emissions and reliance on grid derived power. We hope projects like these inspire our community to consider renewable energy options for their own homes and businesses,” Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery said.
Wollongong Council Administration Building already has a 6 Green Star rating, which is the highest rating from the Green Building Council of Australia. According to Wollongong City Council’s Director of Infrastructure and Works, Andrew Carfield, this is an impressive achievement as it is the oldest building with this rating to join a select group of commercially operated buildings rated at that standard.
More broadly, the Wollongong Council is targeting zero emissions by 2050 for its entire local government area, which has a population of over 200,000. Moreover, the city is home to Bluescope’s Port Kembla steelworks, with industry accounting for the vast majority of the area’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Port Kembla is slated to become one of the state’s first hydrogen hubs, and with Swedish steelmaker SSAB delivering its first “green steel” made from hydrogen just last week, the hub could be a game changer for the area’s transition.
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