Shoalhaven City Council has installed 445 solar panels as part of efforts to reduce the carbon emissions and operation costs of its wastewater treatment plants.

Shoalhaven Water, Council’s Water Utility, oversaw the installation of the 178kW of new solar photovoltaics (PV) across three of its wastewater treatment plants, Nowra (100kW), Bomaderry (50kW) and Culburra (28kW). 

Both the Nowra and Bomaderry solar arrays are ground-mounted, whereas the Culburra plant has a roof-top system.  

The solar systems are expected to generate around 250,000kWh of electricity annually and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 200 tonnes per year.  

Shoalhaven Water’s Executive Manager, Robert Horner, said that Council’s most recent solar panel installation at Nowra Wastewater Treatment Plant further demonstrates Council’s commitment to investing in sustainable energy solutions that will help it achieve a corporate net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050.  

“The solar PV systems supply cost-effective renewable electricity during the daytime to offset some of the plant’s grid electricity needs,” Mr Horner said. 

“The solar systems are installed ‘behind-the-meter’, which also avoids costly electricity network charges as the power is generated onsite. 

“By mid-2022, Council is on track to have solar PV installed at eleven of our 13 wastewater treatment plants, along with renewable energy generation at three of our water treatment plants.”

Council has adopted a corporate net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050, with interim emissions reduction targets of 25 per cent by 2025 and 50 per cent by 2030.  

Grid electricity consumption to operate its corporate and community facilities accounts for almost half of Council’s total carbon emissions. 

To reduce these emissions, Council is currently investigating a long-term renewable Power Purchase Agreement to secure its future electricity needs, reach its sustainability targets and achieve cost savings.

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