NSW council switches on solar in search for 100% renewables

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A 285 kW solar system installed on the newly established Water and Sewerage Services Operations Depot near Bega on the New South Wales (NSW) South Coast has commenced operations with the local council declaring the asset will help it achieve its renewable energy target by the end of the decade.

Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) Water and Sewerage Services Manager Steve Marshall said the new solar system enables council to qualify for the registration and trading of Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCS) with the Australian Clean Energy Regulator.

“Our latest site boasts a peak-power output of 285 kW and is anticipated to generate a substantial 300 MWh of energy annually,” he said. “In terms of consumption, this energy output can power 40 average Australian homes for an entire year or be likened to the fuel capacity of 685 cars, each holding 50 litres of petrol.”

“What this boils down to is taking about 60 tonnes of coal out of the energy generating process each year, which contributes significantly to environmental sustainability.”

Marshall said the new solar project has been linked to other council PV installations in the area to create the council’s most extensive solar energy generation site to date, “with inverters strategically placed to optimise energy flow into the main switchboard.”

“Collaborating with Energis Australia, our project partners helped with the design, procurement and integration of equipment,” he said. “A local provider, Transition Electrics, undertook the installation process and establishment of communications.”

The new solar array is the third PV system installed on BVSC water and sewerage assets with a combined 620 solar panels deployed across the South Bega reservoirs, the Bega-Yellow Pinch Pumphouse and the Bega Water and Sewerage Operations Depot.

Marshall said the council is also “currently working with local contractors to connect three additional water and sewerage sites.”

The council’s solar projects are complemented by a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement that BVSC signed with energy retailer Red Energy in late 2022 to source clean energy from the Metz Solar Farm near Armidale.

The BVSC is targeting 100% renewable energy by 2030 as part of its Community Strategic Plan 2040.

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