USQ Solar Carpark wins award.

The University of Southern Queensland’s innovative solar carpark has already resulted in over $1m in savings and has now been recognised by winning an award. The USQ Solar project has won the top prize in the over 240kW category at the Solar Design and Installation Awards. Another great win for Toowoomba Solar, USQ, its students, and solar power as a whole! 

USQ Solar Carpark

USQ Solar Carpark
USQ Solar Carpark (source: usq.edu.au)

The 1.1MW (1095kW) solar-powered car park at USQ’s Toowoomba Campus was designed by Matthew Linney and Peter Cook. It was installed in conjunction with Autonomous Energy and has resulted in a significant reduction in carbon footprint and also generates approximately $1m in electricity savings and large-scale generation certificate revenue.

It consists of 3842 285W panels – with a minimum energy output of 1.8m kWh/year. This represents an annual carbon offset of around 1479t CO2-e. The project uses LG Chemical battery storage installed on the Engineering and Surveying Building. 

“The solar solution delivers not only a measurable reduction in short and long-term grid energy consumption, resulting in reduced carbon emissions, but it also provides a significant platform for research, learning and teaching,” said USQ Executive Director Dr Dave Povey.

There’s a livestream of the project available on the USQ’s solar website: click here to view it. 

USQ Sustainable Energy Solution Project

The solar carpark is just stage one of USQ’s ‘Sustainable Energy Solution Project’ – which will eventually be a 1.998MW solar project including arrays at the Ipswich, Springfield, and Toowoomba campuses. According to the official USQ website about the project, it will “actively demonstrate the university’s commitment to its social responsibilities, carbon reduction initiatives and improving the environmental performance of the university across every aspect of its operations.”

USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas said the University generates 16 000 tonnes of carbon across its three campuses every year, with electricity accounting for approximately 88 percent of this figure. Professor Thomas discussed USQ’s plan to try and cut this down, starting with ‘four football fields’ of solar panels on the Toowoomba campus carpark: “With a capital cost in excess of $6 million, the solar solution project will be rolled out in three stages with final work completed by the end of next year,” Professor Thomas said.

We’ll keep an eye on the project and update you as soon as they’re working on stage 2. 

View a video produced by USQ about the USQ Sustainable Energy Solution Project below:

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