Another major Australian university will soon be generating its own solar power after Charles Sturt University signed up for an impressive 1.7MW PV array to be installed across 11 buildings at its Wagga Wagga campus, in NSW.
After a competitive tender managed by Solar Choice, CSU said this week it had signed a contract with Todae Solar to design, construct and install the more than 6 000 panels that will supply just under 20 per cent of the University’s electricity demand.
CSU green manager Ed Maher said the completed PV array would generate 1.77 megawatts of power at peak output, making it one of Australia’s largest rooftop solar installations.
“The forecast annual output from the system of 2,618,184 kWh represents 18.7 per cent of the University’s electricity consumption in Wagga Wagga,” Maher said.
Maher said the system would also reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2,513 tonnes CO2-e compared to conventional grid-sourced electricity, making a significant contribution to meeting its goal of being Australia’s first carbon neutral university.
Also significant, he added, was that the new system would not involve any significant capital funding by CSU – independent energy services firm, Verdia, arranged finance for it – and would result in cheaper power in its first year.
“This is despite our existing low electricity tariffs and the absence of any unique government subsidies or grants,” Maher said. “Given these early savings, I believe it marks a new phase in the financial viability of renewable energy on a large commercial scale which is another step towards a clean energy future.”
The array, which is equivalent in area to a football field, is expected to be on-site by March 2017 and fully commissioned four months later. CSU says it intends to follow a similar process for renewable energy generation across all of its campuses.