Council explore options to turn city into solar power centre
A CLEAN energy operator is working with Ipswich City Council to turn the city into a centre for solar power, using the "unusually high" number of rooftops as the platform to achieving carbon neutrality in the next two years.
The council and the Planet Ark Power are exploring options to work together on renewable energy solutions, some of which might power part of the new Ipswich CBD redevelopment.
It is hoped the project will allow Ipswich to meet its carbon reduction targets and become a net zero emissions city.
The council's office of economic development has outlined how the council will enter into a memorandum of understanding with Planet Ark Power to investigate the viability of its technology and how it can "transform" the city's energy consumption.
Planet Ark Power executive director Richard Romanowski said the company is eager to work with council to optimise investment in solar photovoltaic technology across the city.
"Ipswich, with its combination of large industrial estates, new residential developments and a visionary council administration is an ideal location to develop a clean energy Virtual Power Plant," he said.
"We want to help Ipswich transition to a clean energy future by exploring how our unique, world leading technology platform can, for the first time, allow clean, commercial scale solar energy to be generated right where it is needed instead of from remote solar farms that can incur significant transmission costs."
The council's economic development manager, Paul Massingham, said the city has a goal of net zero carbon.
"The purpose of this MOU is to facilitate information sharing and analysis of current energy arrangements of council assets to enable an informed analysis and exploration of the use of Planet Ark Power's unique technologies and the transformational impact this could have on a community," he said.
"This will also include a detailed comparative analysis of energy consumption and costs of council assets.
"Council will work closely with Planet Ark Power to engage with local businesses and developers to explore renewable technologies as the way of doing business."
Llewellyn Motors is home to Australia's largest privately owned solar and smart battery rooftop power station after it was installed 18 months ago by Planet Ark Power.
The on-site power station, which consists of 1232 REC solar panels, is expected to reduce the dealership's carbon footprint by 8400 tonnes and save over $2 million on energy over the next 20 years.
Dealer principal Wade Llewellyn said the set-up had reduced the business' reliance on the electricity grid by 50 per cent.
"(It) has resulted in a considerate cost savings for the business and significantly reduced the carbon footprint of our company," he said.
Ipswich Solar Power owner Darren Rosolak has been installing solar panels locally for the past ten years.
"There's still quite a decent amount of new connections that are going ahead every week," he said.
"Most of the work we do is residential but we regularly do businesses and small commercial buildings. Usually it's (for people) to save themselves a bit of money. I generally don't have too many people to us just for the environmental impact.
"The size of the system has increased. In the early days people were getting smaller systems but now 6.6 kilowatts is about the average."