Solar Farm wins sustainability excellence award
  • Friday 20 April 2018
Sunshine Coast Solar Farm

Sunshine Coast Council’s Solar Farm continues to attract widespread recognition by taking out the sustainability category at the Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) excellence awards in Brisbane last night (April 19).

The awards recognise the outstanding work being undertaken by councils across the state with the sustainability award recognising projects that enhance the long-term sustainability of a council and/or the community.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said the award reflected council’s core sustainability values and its vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.

“The solar farm project was ambitious for a council to pursue, but it sets the bar high for what’s achievable for a local government with a clear vision and determination,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The solar farm is just one part of our strategy.

“Our council sees this project as a catalyst for encouraging growth, research and investment in the region’s ‘Clean-Tech’ industry and help drive increased and sustainable employment.”

Economic Development and Innovation portfolio Councillor Stephen Robinson said he was proud that Sunshine Coast Council had become the first local government in Australia to offset its entire electricity consumption from self-generated renewable energy.

“This project alone will reduce carbon emissions by 25,000 tCO2e per year," Cr Robinson said.

“Add that to the Sunshine Coast’s 40,000 solar PV rooftops (equivalent to 124MW capacity) and we’re on our way to a clean energy economy for our region.”

Council staff were also winners, taking out the management challenge award against 12 other local governments. The team will now represent Queensland at the Australasian finals in August.

Three Council programs were also finalists in other categories at the excellence awards.

The Level Up digital upskilling program and Improving Service Delivery with 3D Visualisation and Mixed Reality were finalists in the Excellence in Innovation category, while Healthy Sunshine Coast was a finalist in the Excellence in Community Shaping category.

“The overall performance of the Sunshine Coast Council at this year’s LGMA excellence awards is a further demonstration of the work our council is doing across the board to deliver a prosperous and sustainable region for our residents today and those who will call the Sunshine Coast home in the future,” Mayor Jamieson said.

FAST FACTS

Council is the first local government in Australia to build a utility scale solar farm. The 15MW Sunshine Coast Solar Farm is:

  • the first solar farm connected to Energex’s 33kV grid in South East Queensland
  • the first solar farm in Australia to operate at 1,500 Volts to operate more efficiently
  • the largest solar farm built in South East Queensland
  • accredited under the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target.
  • Estimated to save council $22 million over the next 30 years.