The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) will save millions of dollars and thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions after installing 6000 rooftop solar panels and a giant water battery.
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham was at the Sippy Downs campus today to flick the switch on the solar-battery scheme with USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill and Veolia Australia and New Zealand chief Danny Conlon.
“USC has calculated that this system will reduce their electricity use by 40 per cent and save the campus $100 million over 25 years,” Dr Lynham said.
“It shows that major organisations are taking up the challenge and joining Queensland’s renewable energy revolution.
“This $12 million project has created 80 local construction jobs and adds to more than 42,000 rooftop solar systems on the Sunny Coast, and the 520,000 residential solar systems across Queensland.
“This is the power of renewable energy: it’s clean and saves money, which is a win-win outcome for the environment and the economy.”
The 2.1-megawatt solar panel system has been installed across campus rooftops and carparks. The energy produced will cool 4.5 megalitres of water, which is then used for air-conditioning.
USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the system’s launch was a significant milestone in the university’s bid to become carbon neutral by 2025.
“For a regional university to be leading the way on this is proof that we don’t need to be in the big cities to be taking big strides in new ideas in renewables, and for us that’s very exciting,” Professor Hill said.
“The team behind this are already sharing the technology with schools, universities and companies around the world.”
Veolia Australia and New Zealand chief executive officer and managing director Danny Conlon said the project had been able to draw upon Veolia's global expertise, delivering a solution with long-term economic and environmental benefits for the university.
"We're pleased to have created local employment and education opportunities in the region through this project," Mr Conlon said.
Dr Lynham said the project was in line with the government’s commitment to achieve 50 per cent renewables by 2030. Queensland already as 2900 megawatts of large-scale renewable generation capacity and another 900 megawatts more of large-scale renewable capacity is currently financially committed or under construction.
The system will prevent more than 92 thousand tonnes of CO2 emissions from reaching our atmosphere over 25 years, equivalent to 525 average Australian houses.
USC’s aim to be carbon neutral by 2025 dovetails with the State Government’s commitment to achieving 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and zero net emissions by 2050.
Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham