Tweed Shire flicks the switch on largest solar install


Wednesday, 15 May, 2019


Tweed Shire flicks the switch on largest solar install

Tweed Shire Council has installed its largest solar system to date on a council facility, saving 200 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year — equivalent to 11 average-sized households.

Deputy Mayor of Tweed, Cr Chris Cherry and local environmental champion, 11 year-old Alyce Togo flicked the switch on the new 486-panel array at the Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre (TRAC) in Murwillumbah in mid-April.

“I’m so pleased to be here today with Alyce to make the switch to solar at TRAC and I’d like to thank the NSW Government for providing $198,202 in funding for this project through the Stronger Country Communities Fund. Council is committed to protecting and enhancing the Tweed’s beautiful natural environment for current and future generations, who are represented here today by Alyce,” Cr Cherry said.

“One of the ways we are doing that is by committing to produce 25% of our own electricity from renewable sources by 2022 and 50% by 2025.

“With this installation, half of the council buildings targeted for solar have now had panels installed, saving 750 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere. We’re now well on our way to meeting the renewable energy goals outlined in Council’s Renewable Energy Action Plan,” she said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro congratulated Tweed Shire Council on completion of the updates at TRAC.

“This is a fantastic outcome for Tweed and Lismore and another great example of how the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund is, yet again, delivering real, tangible improvements in our regional communities. New solar panels provide huge environmental benefits and will cut operation costs, ensuring this well-loved community facility will be enjoyed for many generations to come,” Barilaro said.

To celebrate the TRAC switch to solar and Council’s commitment to future generations, Alyce made a symbolic ride down the TRAC waterslide, bursting through a sign featuring the words “200 tonnes of emissions saved”.

Alyce is concerned about environmental issues and recently campaigned to have compost bins placed in all classrooms at her school and participated in the recent Clean Up Australia Day at Chinderah.

Since the Plan was endorsed in 2018, Council has already installed more than 440 kW of solar at seven Council facilities, nearly doubling Council’s solar capacity.

The rooftop installation of 486 solar panels (165 kW) will enable Tweed’s top aquatic centre to:

  • meet 24% of TRAC’s own power needs through renewable sources;
  • save over 4725 tonnes of CO2-e over the life of the installation — the equivalent of 40 passenger vehicles’ driving for one year;
  • reduce the pool’s annual power bill by nearly 20% or about $42,500.
     

The pool is Council’s third-largest facility for electricity use, after the Banora Point Wastewater Treatment Plant and the water pump station at Bray Park Water Treatment Plant.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/almagami

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