The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm is surpassing its targets in its first year, offsetting more than 100% of Sunshine Coast Council’s total electricity consumption and providing almost $1 million in savings.
The electricity output from the 15 megawatt solar farm – the first to be built by a local government in Australia - has been steadily increasing since its commissioning in July last year with recent monthly figures significantly exceeding forecasts.
January 2018 saw electricity generation surpass three gigawatts for the month for the first time, building on a solid performance in December 2017.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the strong electricity generation from the farm during January allowed council to offset 129% of its total power consumption.
“As our solar farm has ramped up so have its benefits for council and our ratepayers,” Mayor Jamieson.
“It is very encouraging to see the solar farm is on track to exceed the targeted $22m in public savings over 30 years identified in the May 2016 business case.
“During January alone, council saved $339,000 versus the cost of using traditional retail electricity supply agreements, while savings against business as usual for electricity supply are approaching $1m ($938,000) for the year after all costs, including debt repayments.
“Those savings can now be used on community projects and activities in our region.
“The solar farm is also delivering additional benefits for our environment, with the equivalent of 10,989 tonnes of CO2 carbon emissions saved so far in the first year of operations.
“We are exceptionally pleased with the performance of our solar farm and the big contribution it is making to our vision to being Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.”
The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm has already been recognised at the Planning Institute of Australia Awards for Planning Excellence.
It won the Wendy Chadwick Encouragement Award for being innovative and showing the greatest promise of achieving a vision of excellence in Queensland.
Live data from the solar farm can be viewed at www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Environment/Sunshine-Coast-Solar-Farm.