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July 14th, 2018 by admin

Sunshine to save council power bill as $48.5m solar plant under way

Solar panels lifted into place at the Sunshine Coast’s new solar farm at Valdora near Yandina. Photo: Supplied Two crews using 100 tonne cranes will install about 25 tables each day. Photo: Supplied
Nanjing Night Net

Solar panels built in China are being hoisted into place on the Sunshine Coast where construction has started on Queensland’s first solar farm being run by a local council.

Each solar panel is 20 metre long and four metres wide and is being placed by a crane.

About 57,000 solar panels will be installed in the $48.5 million solar plant.

The Sunshine Coast Council plans to use the electricity generated by the solar farm to power all its council properties, so becoming Australia’s first local government powered entirely by clean energy.

It will result in the council saving $22 million in electricity bought from the private market over the next 30 years.

The 15-megawatt solar farm is being built at Valdora above in the old cane fields behind Yandina.

Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson, who inspected the construction on Wednesday, said the decision was proactive because electricity costs had risen 14 per cent over the past 12 months for the council.

“The solar farm will see council proactively take control of our electricity supply to combat rising electricity costs, which are, on average, 14 per cent higher in Queensland compared to last financial year,” Cr Jamieson said.

He said seeing construction start was the culmination of many years of hard work.

“It will be instrumental in helping our region transition to clean energy economy.”

Economic Development and Innovation portfolio chair Steve Robinson said teams had travelled to China to check the production of the solar panels.

“Rowena Coghill, Downer’s project manager, visited the Trina Solar Factory in China in August to check the production of the panels and oversee their quality control process,” Cr Robinson said.

The solar panels are placed on custom supporting tables – or jigs – which keep them above the flood plain at Valdora.

“Two crews using 100 tonne cranes will install about 25 tables each day,” Cr Robinson said.

The frames to hold the solar panels were built in Germany.

“Weather dependent, all (solar panel) tables should be up by Christmas.”

The solar farm will operate by mid-2017.

The Sunshine Coast Council awarded the solar contract in April 2016 and expects to begin saving from the 2017-18 financial year.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.