GOOD RETURN: Mayor Tony Wellington helps inspect one of the latest solar panels council roof-top installations.
GOOD RETURN: Mayor Tony Wellington helps inspect one of the latest solar panels council roof-top installations.

Push for zero emissions is paying off big in Noosa

BEING "sun smart” is taking on a whole new meaning at Noosa Council as its solar panel push continues to pay major dividends in cost savings to ratepayers.

Solar has provided more than 65per cent of the electricity needs of the Noosa Community Support facility at Wallace Park since January, with the large PV solar system exporting electricity back to the grid.

This means the facility's net grid power consumption is just 9per cent.

"It's one of seven council facilities now generating their own electricity, with all sites recording significant reductions in grid power use, lower electricity bills and reduced emissions,” Mayor Tony Wellington said.

He said within six months of installation, the 50kW solar system installed at the Noosaville depot slashed the site's power bills by 55per cent, with the council recording an 84per cent drop in grid power use and emissions.

In the six months following the installation of a 50kW solar system at TheJ in June, the facility's grid power consumption dropped by 45per cent, while the site's power use and emissions are down 34per cent.

The results are similar at Noosa Leisure Centre and Cooroy Library.

Cr Wellington said the community centre was a perfect fit for solar power as it operated during daylight hours and could export solar energy back to the grid on weekends or days when the centre was closed.

"The Tewantin council chambers and Noosa Aquatic Centre have small existing solar power systems in place,” the mayor said.

"Both of these sites are due for new roofing, and once this has been done we'll be able to expand those solar systems.”

Deploying renewable energy is just one of the ways the council is reducing its emissions on the way to achieving its goal of operating with zero emissions by 2026.

Other energy-efficiency projects such as air-conditioning improvements and the switch to LED lighting are also under way.

In recent months, the council has installed more than 300 LED lights in council facilities. LEDs use less than half the power of traditional fluorescent tube lighting and are more efficient, meaning in many cases less lights are required.

"The breakdown of organic matter in the Eumundi-Noosa Rd landfill accounts for just over half of council's carbon emissions, and I'm pleased to say we're tackling this too by improving our gas capture and flaring practices,” CrWellington said.

"As a result, we've reduced our emissions from the landfill by 18per cent in 2017-18. Plainly there is more work to be done, but this is a good result.

"The community, with the Zero Emissions Noosa initiative, is embracing renewable energy.”