Benefit to the Region
  • Last updated:
  • 19 Oct 2017

The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm:

  • will see council proactively take control of its electricity supply to combat rising electricity costs, which were on average 14% higher in Queensland last financial year
  • provide council facilities and operations with renewable electricity and help the Sunshine Coast region transition to clean energy economy
  • complement the Sunshine Coast’s 40,000 solar PV rooftops and contribute to the reduction of Australia’s carbon emissions
  • deliver $22 million in savings (after costs) for ratepayers from council’s lower electricity costs over the next 30 years.

Local jobs and investment

Council hopes to leverage the solar farm to develop a ‘Clean Tech’ hub in the region. This hub provides opportunity to further develop this industry sector, encourage increased external investment in the region, and help drive increased and sustainable employment.

During construction, Downer and council developed a local industry participation plan to ensure that local businesses and workers were appropriately supported to become involved with the project. At any one time during the construction phase, up to 100 people were employed on site by the lead contractor, Downer. Downer are now constructing a number of other solar farms (e.g. Clare in North Queensland).

Key work that ten local companies were sub-contracted to complete on site included, but was not limited to:

  • Carruthers (Yandina) and Bebrock (Kunda Park) completed the earthworks
  • SMEC Sunshine Coast (Birtinya) completed the geotech work supported by South East Soil Testing (Nambour) and Geotech (S.C.) (Warana)
  • GHD (Sunshine Coast) provided Town Planning Services
  • Forde Brothers Fencing (Maroochydore) completed the switchyard fencing
  • Calty Constructions (Kunda Park) built the maintenance building
  • Vickers Concreting (Maleny) provided the foundation slabs for maintenance and control buildings
  • Regional Drilling (Buderim) drilled 15,000 screw piles into the ground which support the solar panel tables
  • TimeLapse (Valdora) provided time lapse cameras on site for the duration of the construction.

 Innovation leader – first council in Australia

Council has pursued a transformational agenda to strengthen the regional economy balanced with maintaining and enhancing the liveability of the region. 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
  • first solar farm in Australia to operate at 1,500 Volts DC to operate more efficiently
  • largest solar farm built in South East Queensland.

Sustainable region

Council is striving to become Australia’s most sustainable region and the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm is part of it's plan to achieve that vision.

  • There will be approximately 36,000 tree and shrub seedlings planted around the boundaries of the solar farm which is one of the largest revegetation projects to be undertaken on the Sunshine Coast.
  • Sunshine Coast Council’s solar farm is assisting the transition to renewable energy that 40,000+ Sunshine Coast households have already made with rooftop solar arrays (add all the solar rooftops together and the Sunshine Coast has 124MW solar capacity – data from Energex).
  • Council is investigating the potential for sheep & goats to graze under the solar farm.
  • Council’s Solar farm will assist to reduce Australia’s electricity carbon emissions.

More information

For more information, please email council's Solar Farm Project Team solarfarm@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.