Newcastle Solar Farm Powers City Council

There’s no need to take coals to Newcastle after the city council switched to solar power for its daytime use last week.

The 5MW Summerhill Solar Farm is built on capped landfill that was once a coal mine, the Newcastle Herald reports.

The project is valued at $8.2 million and includes 14,500 photovoltaic solar panels in an area of approximately five football fields.

Council expects the solar farm will produce enough solar power to run its facilities during the day, and save ratepayers around $9 million over a 25-year lifespan.

Solar farm power for councils and businesses

Solar farms are used by organisations, businesses and industries looking to cut power costs.

A report by the Business Renewables Centre found corporates supported 5.2GW of renewable energy development across Australia over three years. They bought nearly 2.3GW of mostly solar and wind powered electricity over the same timeframe.

For organisations, investing in new coal-fired generation without government backing is risky, given the financial and environmental/reputational costs.

Investing in solar and wind costs far less upfront, and means corporations shield themselves to a great degree from rising market prices with power purchase agreements (PPAs).

Reasons to invest in commercial solar

The Business Renewables Centre report found the following factors influenced organisations to choose the benefits of commercial solar via PPAs:

  • Sustainability targets (PPAs are the quickest and often the only way to achieve ambitious emissions targets).
  • Improving budget certainty in volatile markets.
  • The potential for cost savings – high prices.
  • Have often been the catalyst for more pro-active energy management.
  • Improving their brand or social licence by supporting new renewable energy.

The Corporate Renewable Power Purchase Agreements in Australia report points out that banks, manufacturers, agriculture, transport, recreational venues, local councils and educational facilities are investing in renewable energy.

Banking on solar power

For example, the Commonwealth Bank’s PPA supported the construction of the 270MW Sapphire Wind Farm in the New England region of NSW. Its PPA allows for future expansion to include the 200MW Sapphire Solar Farm scheduled for completion in 2020.

As business and government adopt solar power on a large scale, households can also take part in the solar transition.

By installing solar panels on your rooftop, your power bills will be drastically reduced. Speak to one of our Solaray experts to find out the right size solar system for your situation.

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