Wastewater plant set to host Council's largest solar array

Council votes to seek planning and energy approvals for 604kW system

Friday 17 May, 2019

Council is on track to install its largest single solar array by the end of June 2020.

At its meeting last night (16 May), Council resolved to give the green light to seek planning and energy approvals needed to install a 604kW ground-mounted solar system at the Banora Point Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Council will fund the $880,000 installation, which will pay for itself in energy savings over six years.

The Banora Point plant, which treats 10 million litres of wastewater every day, is Council's single most power-hungry asset across its entire portfolio.

The solar system is expected to provide one-fifth of the plant's power needs and save more than 730 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year - that's equivalent to the emissions from more than 40 average households.

The 1500 high-efficiency solar panels will cover 6800m2 of land within the wastewater treatment plant facility, an area the size of a football field.

Councillor Katie Milne, Mayor of Tweed, said that the renewable energy from the site will make an important contribution to Council's Renewable Energy Action Plan (REAP) target to self-generate 25 per cent of Council's electricity from renewable sources by 2022 and half by 2025.

"Minimising our impact on the environment is one of the ways we are working to protect and enhance our natural surroundings for current and future generations," she said.

This installation will expand on the existing 781kW of solar PV systems already installed across Council facilities.

Council's Water and Wastewater operations consume about $3.4 million in grid-based electricity every year, which is about two-thirds of Council's entire power bill.  This power is used predominantly in the pumping and supply of potable water as well as in the wastewater treatment plants that process residential and industrial wastewater.

To find out more about Council's Renewable Energy Action Plan, visit www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/SustainableOperations.