Ipswich told solar revolution coming as new facility opens
QUEENSLAND'S Energy Minister said he wants Ipswich to become one of the leading producers of solar power in the state as part of the government's renewable 'revolution'.
Ipswich City Council recently approved an $80 million solar farm for Karrabin and there are about 26,000 rooftop solar systems across the city.
Ipswich is home to about 226,000 people and that is expected to rise to 500,000 by 2040.
The projected population growth is the fastest in Queensland.
Dr Anthony Lynham was on hand to officially open a solar-powered car park in the Goodna Technology Park this morning, which he said should be a sign of things to come for the rapidly growing area.
"In Queensland we have some of the leading solar postcodes in the nation in Bundaberg and Caloundra," he said.
"We want Ipswich to be right up there as well.
"With the growth in Ipswich, we're going to be seeing it.
"A 50 megawatt solar farm is no shrinking violet. The more renewable energy out into the Queensland grid means cheaper power prices.
"The big projects are all in the Western Downs, which means that Ipswich will be supplying those big power projects. The potential is unrealised in Queensland.
"Queensland's renewable energy revolution is steaming ahead, and Ipswich is part of that progress."
The 24-space car park has 216 solar panels, that can generate up to 55 kilowatts of power, and two electric charging stations, which are able to give a 120 km boost in one hour, or fully recharge a car during a business day.
Dr Lynham recharged the electric car he was travelling in on-site and said facilities like the one in Goodna would encourage more people to "get on board" with electric vehicles.
There are only about 2000 registered electric vehicle drivers in Queensland.
"To stimulate private enterprise to get into the game, sometimes State Governments have to move first to show people how it's done and we did," he said.
"We put 18 charging stations up and down the Pacific Highway all the way from Brisbane to Cairns. There's one out at Springfield.
"Private enterprise has taken up the challenge and now we have 300 charging stations."
Goodna Technology Park owner Bruce Leslie is also the product manager for Vast Solar.
He said the project took two months to construct and creating renewable energy facilities was a "really important part of our future."
The park is home to about 50 staff across five businesses.
"We can see that electric vehicles are coming," he said.
"The return on investment (for the solar car park) is about four years. The value of the electricity it creates which is then provided to our tenants instead of buying stuff from the grid gives it a pay-off period of about four years.
"The old market was there's a few players that produced all of the energy for everybody.
"The new market is going to be lots and lots of players producing energy in a distributed market.
"Over the next little while we need plenty of solar coming in as electric cars come in (and) hydrogen facilities come in."