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NSW bowls club boosts solar capacity to 414kW, to cut grid power by 25%

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One Step Off The Grid

Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club in Illawarra on the NSW coast is boosting its rooftop solar capacity to an impressive total of 414kW, adding a 314kW array to the Club’s existing 100kW system, in a move it expects to cut grid power consumption by 25 per cent.

The new array – most of which will be installed on the roof of the Club’s indoor bowling greens, pictured above – is expected to deliver savings of around $75,000 a year for the venue, both from reduced electricity bills and from the trading of Large-scale Generation Certificates.

The Club, which is an active member of the Illawarra Sustainable Clubs Alliance, says it was motivated to add the new capacity due to the recent electricity price hikes in the state.

And they are not alone. According to the latest monthly market update from solar industry analysts, SunWiz, commercial solar installs have been charting impressive growth around the nation, and currently account for 32 per cent of the market share.

Business – and households – choosing to add more solar to existing systems are also expected to play a big part in the current PV boom, as the falling cost of installing panels, and the rising cost of grid electricity, make the solar business case even better.

“Operating sustainably makes for a very compelling business case”, said Warilla Club General Manger, Phillip Kipp.

“Not only will the Club make significant cost savings but we will also minimise our impact upon the environment.

“We have engaged Rana Environmental to project manage and Smart Commercial Solar to complete the installation so we are very confident of a high level outcome,” Kipp said.

Elsewhere in the region, the Illawarra Yacht Club and Dapto Leagues Club area also installing solar systems, adding a combined 163kW of capacity.

“This project signals a trend that will see clubs and other similarly situated businesses recognise that a well-designed, installed and managed solar system is now critical to lowering their overheads,” said Smart Commercial Solar’s Anastasi Kotoros.

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.  

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  • George Darroch

    All that solar helps shade their large roof as well, lowering their cooling costs by a little.

    Once enough places do this we’ll see a real rush. It will be as rare to have a useful club roof without solar as it is to have a club without AC.

    • Rod

      Yes, looking at that rooftop, AC would be one reason for their huge bill. Hopefully they have looked at other options for lighting too.

      • Levi Gibson

        The Club sure has Rod. LED lighting throughout.

  • trackdaze

    Need storage to pickup after the sun goes down.

    • Levi Gibson

      100% of energy generated will be consumed during the day so there is no additional generation to be stored. This is the Peak and Shoulder period so its ideal that the energy generated is consumed during the day vs. storage.

  • Ian

    Good work , Warilla Bowls club.

    Couple of questions though.

    1. What is the maximum that they can feed into the grid?

    2. What is their feed-in-tariff?

    • Levi Gibson

      Hi Ian,

      Due to the Clubs high day time consumption, all energy generated will be consumed on site. For the most part, total roof capacity on any Club roof still won’t accomodate all of their day time electricity requirements.

      Indeed, a solar system should never be oversized even if possible, as the feed-in tariff is low and does not represent an acceptable ROI for the component of solar generation over and above the Clubs needs.