A NEW 100 kilowatt solar installation at Bathurst’s Wastewater Treatment Plant will pay for itself in six years.
Bathurst Regional Council and contractor Epho unveiled the new grids, which took just 10 days to install, at the plant yesterday.
The installation includes 377 panels on a ground-mounted framing system that spans five rows near the entrance to the site.
Each panel is 265 watts and together they will produce enough electricity to cover up to five per cent of the electricity required to run the plant each year.
While the solar array is situated on council-owned land opposite the Morrisset Street plant, it is connected to the plant by underground cabling.
Mayor Gary Rush officially opened the installation and praised Epho for installing the grid so efficiently. He also reaffirmed council’s commitment to investing in renewable energy in Bathurst.
This new installation is the largest council has commissioned since it began installing solar generation in 2009.
“[This installation] is not unique by any means, but it is special,” Cr Rush said.
So far 11 sites have been fitted with solar generation, including a 50 kilowatt system at the Water Filtration Plant in 2014.
Of all the sites owned by council, the Wastewater Treatment Plant has the highest consumption of electricity, which made it a high priority for solar generation.
Epho managing director Oliver Hartley said the installation would perform well at the site and encouraged council to continue investing in renewable energy.
“It was an important project for us and it went well because we had a professional council team to work with,” Mr Hartley said.
“I promise you the system will deliver on the expectations.”
Solar generation systems in Bathurst offset some of the electricity costs over the medium to long term and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from council operations.
The installation at the Wastewater Treatment Plant was funded through council’s Revolving Energy Fund and Water Sewer Fund.
Savings made from projects funded through the Revolving Energy Fund go back into the fund to support future projects.