Some good news coming from the Sunshine Coast this afternoon – today the Sunshine Coast Council have officially opened the 15MW Valdora solar farm. Atypical in that it is the first council in Australia to run its own large scale PV solar plant – and according to RenewEconomy it has the potential to save up to $20m in electricity. The Sunshine Coast Daily have it at $22m in savings over the next 30 years. Regardless of the final figure, it’s a massive feather in the cap of the SCC and will no doubt lead to plenty more councils following suit (the council said that 15 councils around Australia have inquired about the process). Queensland solar continues to move in leaps and bounds in both the public and private sector.
About the Valdora Solar Farm
According to Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson the completion of the Valdora Solar Farm means that the Sunshine Coast Council will be pioneers in the renewable energy field in that they will be the first in Australia to offset all of its electricity use through renewable energy. The $50.4m project was developed at Valdora, which is west of Coolum – and will sell power generated from 57,960 solar panels as of today.
Cr Jamieson, along with Cr Stephen Robinson (Sunshine Coast Council’s Development and Innovation Portfolio Councillor) and the director of Downer Utilities (part of the Downer Group, who were responsible for building the farm), Trevor Cohen, plugged into the grid at around 11am this morning. The Valdora solar farm, located on an old sugar farm, is able to generate 15MW and will be able to fully supply the council’s extended energy needs. “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”, according to Cr Jamieson.
The SCC have signed a retail contract with Diamond Energy. The Managing Director of Diamond Energy, Tony Sennit, was quoted as “Over the past three years, Diamond Energy has supported council’s enthusiastic staff, through planning, implementation and now operation,”