The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm has been recognised once again, taking out the Environmental and Sustainability Award at the Australian Regional Development Conference Awards 2018 held today (September 18).
The commissioning of the solar farm aligns with the conference theme – Uncovering Regional Possibilities – which aims to encourage out-of-the-box thinking and learning from passionate advocates about the great things that are being done to develop sustainable communities.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said one of the key criteria for the award was the benefit to the local community.
“The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm is delivering across so many platforms,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Financially, we’re surpassing predicted savings, reducing the operating costs of council, but it’s also delivering for the environment, the community and the local economy.
“During construction, the solar farm employed up to 100 people.
“Council is now endeavouring to leverage the solar farm to expand the region’s clean tech capabilities and product offerings, which would help drive increased employment opportunities in this industry.
“Environmentally, the solar farm is offsetting more than 100% of council’s total electricity consumption and has generated more than 30GW hours of energy since it opened with resulting carbon savings of more than 24,000 tonnes.
“As far as game-changing projects go, this is one that just keeps delivering for our region.”
Division 9 Councillor Steve Robinson said the educational opportunities associated with the solar farm were continuing to be pursued.
“We’ve recorded substantial interest from schools, universities, community groups and other local governments who want to find out more about the project or visit the facility,” Councillor Robinson said.
“We’re committed to bringing our community along on the renewable energy journey and have launched a campaign to assist our community make great renewable energy choices.
“We have just delivered a successful program of renewable energy sessions at local libraries and from October 12, council will host three weeks of considered design and resourceful living talks, workshops and exhibits at the Old Ambo Nambour, as part of Sunshine Coast Open House Day.
“Programming covers everything from building a project home and carbon neutral homes to renewable energy presentations and a tour of the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm.”
The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm has previously been awarded:
- the Wendy Chadwick Encouragement Award for Innovation at the Planning Institute of Australia Awards
- the Local Government Managers Australia (Queensland) Award for Sustainability Excellence and
- the Environmental Leadership and Sustainability Award at the Local Government Professionals Australia National Federation Awards.
- The first solar farm connected to Energex’s 33kV grid in South East Queensland
- The first solar farm in Australia to operate at 1500 Volts to operate more efficiently
- The largest solar farm built in South East Queensland
- Accredited under the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target