Sunshine Coast Solar Farm saves $1.7m in Year 1

The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm has been live for a year, and, as the second largest solar farm in Queensland, is on track to deliver $22m in savings over the next 30 years. 

Sunshine Coast Solar Farm Savings

Sunshine Coast Solar Farm (Valdora)
Sunshine Coast Solar Farm (Valdora) (source:

Also known as the Valdora solar farm, the 15MW and $50m Sunshine Coast Solar Farm was opened last year, allowing the Sunshine Coast Council to be the first local governments in Australia to offset 100% of its energy usage from a renewable source. Sunshine Coast acting Mayor Tim Dwyer has made some comments to the Sunshine Coast Daily about its progress:

“The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm has saved council $1.7 million – more than double the amount we’d hoped for in the first year,” Cr Dwyer said.

“We have met our offset goal as well – offsetting more than 100% of council’s energy use across all our facilities and operations.

“We’ve generated more than 26,300 megawatt hours of energy in 12 months. To put that into perspective, the average Australian home uses around six megawatt hours per year.

“We’ve saved more than 20,500 tonnes in carbon emissions – the equivalent of taking about 4300 cars off the road for one year.

“Council’s solar farm project has also received three prestigious awards for boosting productivity through infrastructure, sustainability excellence and planning excellence.

“Our Council is the first local government in the country to deliver a solar farm.

“With projects like the solar farm, we are delivering on our vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.”

According to the Sunshine Coast Council website, it’s also the first solar farm in Australia which operates at 1500 volts DC, allowing it to operate more efficiently. 

Mayor Mark Jamieson said farm will allow the local council to take control of its own electricity supply, helping with rising electricity costs and also providing an environmentally friendly way to run their facilities:

“All power consumed at all of council’s facilities, including our administration buildings, aquatic centres, community and performance venues, as well as holiday parks, libraries, art galleries and sporting facilities, will be offset with energy from a renewable source thanks to this nation-leading project,” Mayor Jamieson said.



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Solar battery database in Queensland – Reg for $50!

Queenslanders that have a solar battery (AKA energy storage) powered by PV solar panels on their roof can earn $50 by registering it on the Queensland solar battery database which was announced last Wednesday, ahead of a national database which is currently being discussed.

Solar battery database in Queensland

Queensland Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham announced the database which will work in tandem with the Australian Energy Market Commission, who are currently working on national rules for a register of battery storage systems and distributed energy devices.  

“Households with solar panels are starting to install batteries to store their solar power to use during peak periods,” Lynham said on a press release entitled ‘Queensland leads the way on energy storage‘ hosted on the Queensland Government website.

“Energex and Ergon Energy need to know where those batteries are in an emergency, but also because those batteries can help better manage the electricity network and supply during peak demand.

“This is part of our plan to use network energy assets to further lower wholesale prices, minimise price spikes and increase the resilience of the power networks,” he said. 

“For example, households with batteries, and the service providers operating the equipment on their behalf, will be able to respond to possible peak load events by optimising the use of their battery stored power.”

The register will be to help improve safety during emergencies as emergency service responders can attend fire scenes and if they aren’t aware of energy storage at the premises, it can be an issue for obvious reasons.

Solar Battery Database
Solar Battery Database to assist in safety for grid employees. (source:

Energy Queensland Chief Executive Officer David Smales discussed the safety concerns and why Queensland are jumping ahead to establish this database:

“Capturing these details in a centralised register will help address these potential safety concerns. 

“It will also create opportunities for Ergon Energy and Energex to potentially work with customers to use these installed battery systems to more broadly contribute to addressing demand and voltage issues in the electricity grid.”

If you want more information about the project or how to redeem your $50 please visit or

Queensland’s solar future is looking bright, with the Palaszczuk Government’s “Powering Queensland’s Future” plan, solar power on over a third of homes, and renewable energy jobs in Queensland more than doubling late last year. 

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Llewellyn Motors install 332kw solar system in Ipswich.

Llewellyn Motors in Ipswich have installed a 1232-panel, 332-kilowatt solar system on the roof of their car dealership, creating Australia’s largest privately-owned solar power station. 

Llewellyn Motors’ Solar System

The Ipswich car dealership worked in conjunction with Planet Ark Power to install the solar system, and according to Llewellyn’s general manager James Sturgess it has already saved the company approximately $7,000 in power costs since it was turned on in October.

Llewellyn Motors Solar System - Planet Ark Power
Llewellyn Motors Solar System – Planet Ark Power (source: Planet Ark Facebook)

“Basically this takes care of half our energy needs,” Mr Sturgess told QT.

“The model we’ve put together is for this system to be cash flow positive from day one. We’ve been able to achieve 90% of our target straight away, and that’s taking into account a few rainy days.”

They are still in negotiations with Energex and the State Government with regards to feeding power back into the grid. In either case, the Llewellyn Motors solar set up is unique in that includes a special type of battery storage which uses data projections and previous information to decide when it should switch on and off. This battery will help reduce peaks in consumption and cut their solar bill further. 

According to the executive director of Planet Ark Power, Richard Romanowski, their proprietary dSTATCOM software is a key driver of the ‘smart battery’ that helps the company save so much money and decide which to charge/discharge:

“This system is going to save them thousands of dollars a month,” Mr Romanowski said.

“The key is in the way the smart battery reduces the customer’s demand charges; it’s a battery plus software.”

This is another example of commercial solar continuing to gain ground in Australia – last week we reported on Stockland shopping centres rolling out 12.3MW of solar across 10 of their venues. We’ve also seen Aldi installing solar systems at their distribution centres, Office supply company Complete Office Supplies’ private solar investment in June this year was a massive $1m in rooftop PV solar at their Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne warehouse locations. No doubt there’s plenty more to come. 

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Brisbane Solar Installers: Compare prices, panels, quotes!

Brisbane receives almost 6 hours of ‘peak sun’ per day. According to the Clean Energy Regulator and the APVI, Queensland leads the charge of percentage of dwellings with a PV system – at around 32% – with over 1600MW in installed PV generation and almost the same again in the pipeline. Brisbane solar, especially for residential homes, plays a major part in this.

As such, many Brisbane and Queensland citizens have taken advantage of the power of solar, but haven’t taken a look at solar batteries. Whether you are looking to upgrade your panels, put in a new system, or add solar battery storage to your place, Saving With Solar can help. Read on below to learn more about our list of Brisbane solar companies and which steps you should be taking to ensure you get the maximum result to save the most money with your solar installation!

Brisbane Solar Installers
Brisbane Solar (source:

Best Solar Installers in Brisbane

There are many solar companies in Brisbane and we’ve come up with some below.

Some other Brisbane solar quotes are available from:

Brisbane Solar Battery Quotes

As we noted before, over 30% of the households in Brisbane already have solar panels on them. If you’re not on one of the 44c/kWh grandfathered tariff plans, you can often save money but installing a solar battery and changing to a peak/off peak tariff with your solar provider.

Although the Tesla Powerwall 2 is all the rage and some people are even waiting for the Powerwall 3 release date, there are a range of options that are just as functional with less of a price tag:

Solar Battery Comparison

How much money can I save?

This is quite difficult to answer without looking at your specific circumstances, but we can give you a rough idea before handing you over to one of our qualified installers. First of all, ideally you would like your panels to be facing north on an angle around 20-40′ from horizontal to receive maximum efficiency from your panels. In a perfect world this isn’t always possible but as long as you sit down with your installer and conduct a thorough analysis of your roof you’ll be able to maximise your result. Sometimes even if you’re not able to achieve optimum conditions due to trees, roof sloping or location, simply adding an extra solar panel can be enough to make up the shortfall.

In short, although not all houses will be able to get the ‘optimum’ orientation – it’s important that you use a trusted solar installer who will sit down with you and use the latest technology to offer you the best result for your circumstances.

Brisbane Solar Output (assuming ~85% efficiency)
System Size
Averaged (over a year) daily output
1.5kW 5.7kWh
2kW 9kWh
3kW 13.5kWh
4kW 19kWh
5kW 23kWh
10kW 46kWh

Brisbane Solar Uptake – Suburb by Suburb

Which suburbs in Brisbane have the most solar power installed? Have a look at this data from the Energex website, current as of September 2017:

Suburb Postcode Count Installed Solar PV Capacity (kW)
VALDORA 4561 87 15380.25
BUDERIM 4556 3616 12458.64
CABOOLTURE 4510 2643 10172.896
NARANGBA 4504 2572 9799.02
FOREST LAKE 4078 2725 9046.67
MORAYFIELD 4506 2342 8865.87
HELENSVALE 4212 2384 8740.6
UPPER COOMERA 4209 2241 8622.13
NORTH LAKES 4509 2168 8201.44
CAPALABA 4157 2231 8039.74
JIMBOOMBA 4280 1966 7738.79
DECEPTION BAY 4508 2093 7557.52
ALBANY CREEK 4035 2089 7556.24
SUNNYBANK HILLS 4109 2293 7546.04
BURPENGARY 4505 1970 7455.79
REDLAND BAY 4165 2040 7444.71
BRACKEN RIDGE 4017 2164 7375.96
KALLANGUR 4503 2108 7346.11
ROBINA 4226 2078 7299.9
ALEXANDRA HILLS 4161 2129 7293.86
CARINDALE 4152 1991 7285.67
THORNLANDS 4164 1892 7026.035
NERANG 4211 1725 6795.19
VICTORIA POINT 4165 2054 6717.71
BIRKDALE 4159 1960 6674.81
THE GAP 4061 1773 6341.795
CALAMVALE 4116 1971 6326.41
ORMEAU 4208 1572 6011.09
EIGHT MILE PLAINS 4113 1708 5946.45

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Solar Power Queensland – 2017 Installations and Projections

April, 2017 – Solar Power Queensland

Energex have released their monthly update of solar installations in south-east Queensland and it appears the number of consumers enjoying the grandfathered ‘premium’ feed of 44c/kWh has finally been overtaken by those with the ‘regular’ retail rate of 6c/kWh.

Solar Power Queensland
Solar Power Installation Queensland (source:

Released this week, the data shows Queensland has 1,174MW on 325,164 homes and businesses – the highest in Australia.

172,753 and 539MW of these consumers are still on the premium feed, which is lost upon a change of system or ownership. At its highest over 600MW was being generated at the $0.44c/kWh tariff. The government would be keen to cease as many of these premium feeds as possible before the agreement runs out in 2028 – as currently they’re paying 730% of the ‘normal’ rate. This isn’t as much as Victoria where the tariff was a whopping $0.60c/kWh!

Future Projections – Solar Power Queensland and Australia

According to Newsmaker, Solar PV market size for both residential and industrial sectors will exceed 5 million units by 2030 – to total around 16GW. There are currently around 1.6 million, with a combined capacity of over 5.7GW. (You can find a great deal of useful and detailed data on the Australian PV market from the Australian PV Institute.). Of particular interest is the fact that QLD has the highest monthly PV output by a considerable amount due to generous schemes by the government – and the Northern Territory outputs only 6,281MWh per month (opposed to Queensland’s 172,121MWh). If you want to read more about Solar Power in the Northern Territory we have a page discussing its slow uptake in more detail.

If you’re interested in Solar at your home, some of the major competitors worth checking out (a few don’t operate in Queensland) include  Jemena, United Energy, CitiPower and Powercor Australia, ActewAGL, AusGrid,  Energex, Horizon Power, SP AusNet, Essential Energy and Ergon amongst many others. Solar is growing at an amazing rate and as the cost of equipment and subsequent cost of MWH continues to lower it’ll become bigger and bigger. As the uptake of solar PV systems begins to even out it’ll be time to start looking at ‘smart’ energy storage – which will be able to predict trends based on househould usage habits, weather patterns and so on – with the aim of minimising your electricity bill.

Have a look at our article on Redback Technologies’ Energy Management Platform for more information.

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