Solar Farm wins boosting productivity award

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Business & Economy Energy & Water Environment Sunshine Coast Council

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The Sunshine Coast Council Solar Farm has been honoured in the National Awards for Local Government which showcase innovative and resourceful solutions that local governments have implemented to make a difference within their communities.

The Solar Farm won the Boosting Productivity through Infrastructure Award, highlighting council’s forward thinking approach to invest in modern infrastructure to boost productivity.

The National Awards for Local Government include 10 categories that celebrate projects that demonstrate leading practice, deliver improved outcomes and have the potential to be rolled out across the country to make a meaningful difference for communities

The innovative Solar Farm project is now in the running to be the overall national award winner, which will be announced in Canberra in June.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said this latest award further recognised council’s quest to be the first local government in Australia to offset 100% of its electricity consumption with energy from a renewable source.

“Our Solar Farm is making a meaningful difference to not only our community, but is also serving as a demonstration to other councils on how they can reduce their exposure to rises in future electricity costs,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Since it was commissioned in July last year, 31 other Australian councils, seven State and Federal government departments, six schools, five universities and countless other residents and businesses have either requested information about the project or visited the facility.

“And the Solar Farm is on track to exceed the targeted $22 million in ratepayer savings over 30 years identified in the May 2016 business case – a saving that would not have been possible if we had continued with a ‘business as usual’ approach.”

This latest announcement comes on the back of the Solar Farm taking out the sustainability category at the Local Government Managers Australia Excellence Awards which were announced on April 19.

The awards recognise the outstanding work being undertaken by councils across the state with the sustainability award recognising projects that enhance the long-term sustainability of council and/or the community.

Live data from the solar farm can be viewed at www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Environment/Sunshine-Coast-Solar-Farm.

Boosting Productivity through Infrastructure Award

As Australia's population and economy grow and new opportunities and challenges emerge, the growth in demand for infrastructure and access to transport systems across all modes, in both our urban and regional centres will intensify. So too will the challenges in managing increased urbanisation and social and economic pressures in our regions. Therefore, the Australian Government needs to ensure Australia's infrastructure and transport systems attract the investment needed for a fully functioning, efficient and productive economy.

The National Awards for Local Government are administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities with support from sponsoring Australian Government departments, Woodside Energy Ltd. and LG Professionals Australia.

Other awards for Sunshine Coast Solar Farm

  • Planning Institute of Australia Awards for Planning Excellence: winner of the Wendy Chadwick Encouragement Award for being innovative and showing the greatest promise of achieving a vision of excellence in Queensland.
  • Local Government Managers Australia Excellence Awards: winner of the sustainability category which recognises projects that enhance the long-term sustainability of council and/or the community.
     

Solar Farm fast facts

Council is the first local government in Australia to build a utility scale solar farm. The 15MW Sunshine Coast Solar Farm is:

  • the first solar farm connected to Energex’s 33kV grid in South-East Queensland
  • the first solar farm in Australia to operate at 1,500 Volts to operate more efficiently
  • the largest solar farm built in South-East Queensland
  • accredited under the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target
  • estimated to save council $22 million over the next 30 years
 
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