City of Sydney signs contract for 1.25MW of rooftop solar

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Falling PV module prices allow City of Sydney to expand rooftop solar program.

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The City of Sydney has laid claim to the country’s largest rooftop solar installation after announcing plans to install a 1,250kWp (kilowatt peak) system across 30 sites within its boundaries over the next two years.

The City said Solgen Energy had won a $6 million contract to install solar photovoltaic panels, which it said would generate around 2 million kWh of electricity a year and provide 12.5 per cent of the electricity needs of its city properties. It said it would reduce 2,100 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year at an abatement cost of around $33/tonne, and would meet half of the targeted 8 per cent emissions reductions by 2030 from the development of solar.

Solgen beat off rival bids from Ingenero, NU Energy, RF Industries and SunPower, although a second tender was called after it was realised that solar PV prices had fallen so quickly that the city could easily beat its original deployment targets of between 800kWp and 1,000kWp.

The panels will be installed on buildings such as Town Hall House, the Redfern Oval grandstand, the Railway Square Bus Interchange, Sydney Park Pavilion, towns halls in Paddington, Redfern and Glebe, as well as libraries, community centres and council depots.

The solar energy will be augmented by the City’s plan to invest in trigeneration systems and fuel cells, further reducing its reliance on the grid, and avoiding the need for new coal-fired generation and network upgrades. It aims to source 30 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2030, and 70 per cent from cogen and trigen plants.

The largest building-based solar PV installations in Australia are at the University of Queensland (1,200kWp), and the Adelaide showgrounds (1,000kWp) – although these are mounted at a single location, rather than dispersed through the city.

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3 Comments
  1. L 7 years ago

    Great, however $6M for 1.25 MW = $4.80/W installed is hardly impressive. quotes for residential scale projects are available around 3 $/W installed, I would have thought that the City of Sydney should have been able to get the price below this.

    In addition can anyone explain why all these prices are so much higher than the cost of installed PV in Germany?

    Average installed PV costs over there are at the ~2 AUD/W level according to published figures (http://www.solarwirtschaft.de/preisindex).

    I don’t buy the argument that our industry isn’t as developed, we are installing hundreds of MW per year. I hear that there isn’t much margin for the installers. So is it red tape?

  2. G 7 years ago

    A look at some of the installation sites might answer your question why installed system prices differ.

    Labour costs and economies of scale in installation add to the fact that installed system prices are higher..

  3. Sunoba 7 years ago

    Yes, the LCOE for this installation is on the high side. My estimate is $342/MWhr, which is about 40% more than other installations I’ve analysed recently. Also the cost of CO2 abatement is $326/t and the Capacity Factor is 0.183.

    I’ll be generous and guess that the high LCOE is because there are a decent number (10?) of installation sites sprinkled throughout the city, and some of these might have been difficult jobs.

    Details at http://www.sunoba.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/cost-of-solar-power-29.html

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