The South Australian City of Onkaparinga, south of Adelaide, is installing more than 300kW of rooftop solar across three of its most energy hungry facilities, in a move council says will save it more than $80,000 a year.
The project, which will triple the amount of solar already installed by the council, will cost it $437,000 and is expected to pay for itself within six years.
The panels will be installed at the Noarlunga Civic Centre and Council Chambers (100kW), the Field Operations Centre at Seaford Meadows (120kW) and the Woodcroft Community Centre (89kW), with work occurring between June-September.
Council said the move was in keeping with the pace of solar installs in the local government area, which has a 36.8 per cent penetration of residential solar, compared to the rest of the state at 30 per cent.
The area also boasts some impressive commercial solar arrays, including the 1.8 MW system at Vicinity’s Colonnades shopping centre, where nearly 5,000 solar panels were laid and connected in early 2019.
“This project …demonstrates City of Onkaparinga’s commitment to environmental sustainability and responding and adapting to climate change,” said Kirk Richardson, the council’s director of city operations.
“It represents another step in the reduction of our low-carbon city’s footprint, adding to the 30 per cent drop in our emissions from 2010 to 2017-18.
“We’ve earmarked a number of council’s other sites for future solar installations, and combined with measures such as replacing inefficient air conditioning and upgrading street lighting to LED technology, we’re also delivering significant savings to our energy costs.”
An earlier council project in 2018 swapped around 12,250 street lights to 14-watt LED technology, to deliver an estimated $600,000 in annual savings and a reduction of 2,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.