The CSIRO has revealed plans to add a further 1MW of rooftop solar at its Canberra Black Mountain facility, and install another 1.2MW across sites in Queensland and South Australia, as the agency works to slash its energy costs.
A tender for the additional PV panels at Black Mountain, and new systems at Pullenvale (QLD) and Waite (SA) was launched by CSIRO, and it expects a rapid payback.
“A key opportunity exists for CSIRO to hedge against the predicted upward price trend in electricity prices by investing today in alternative renewable energy sources to power their sites,” the tender documents say.
“The installation of large scale on-site renewable energy generation is a key mechanism to reduce CSIRO’s carbon footprint.”
The nation’s premier scientific and research agency – which has been a major contributor to renewable energy research and development in Australia – has a renewable energy target of 5MW of on-site renewable energy generation by 2020.
It has also committed to reduce its emissions by 5 per cent by the end of June 2020 (compared to 1999–2000 levels).
So far, more than 880kW of solar PV has already been installed across sites at Black Mountain, Armidale in NSW, Werribee in Victoria, Kensington in Western Australia and Darwin since 2016.
Fairfax newspapers reported on Monday that a further 4.2MW of solar capacity was being proposed for additional sites in the ACT, NSW, Victoria and Western Australia.
“Once installed, these [photovoltaic] systems will deliver more than $900,000 [in] annual savings on energy bills, save close to 8000 megawatt hours of energy and reduce CO2 equivalent emissions by about 7400 tonnes each year,” a CSIRO spokesman reportedly said.
As well as solar, and a range of cutting edge energy efficiency measures, the CSIRO has 10 all-electric Nissan Leaf vehicles in its vehicle fleet at seven locations across Australia.
Electric/petrol hybrid vehicles make up another 25 per cent of the agency’s passenger vehicle fleet and 15 per cent of its total vehicle fleet (excluding farm machinery and other specialist vehicles).