Milestone for region's biggest solar farm
City of Newcastle is turning a disused landfill site at Summerhill Waste Management Centre into the region's biggest solar farm, with construction now underway.
I had the honour of turning the first sod on the project last week, which was a major milestone for the City and another exciting step forward in the delivery of renewable energy for our region.
The solar farm will produce enough energy to run the equivalent of all the City's facilities during the day, which represents significant environmental and financial returns for rate payers.
The five-megawatt facility will increase our renewable energy generation capacity tenfold and save rate payers around $9 million over its 25-year lifespan.
Our largest investment in renewable energy to date, the solar farm follows solar installations already in place at our Waratah Works Depot, Newcastle Art Gallery, the City, Wallsend and New Lambton libraries, No.1 and No.2 sportsgrounds and Newcastle Museum.
We are building sustainability into everything we do after committing last year to generate 30 per cent of our electricity needs from low-carbon sources and cut overall electricity usage by 30 per cent by 2020.
The City recently received an award from the Climate Council's Cities Power Partnership for energy efficiency achievement for the energy upgrade project at Newcastle Museum, which upgraded lighting to maximise energy efficiency in addition to installing rooftop solar panels.
Covering an area of around five football fields on a capped landfill once part of the Wallsend Borehole Colliery, the solar farm's 14,500 photovoltaic solar arrays will help dramatically reduce the city's $4 million annual electricity bill.
The new facility joins a 2.2 megawatt landfill gas generator and a small wind turbine already located at Summerhill.