January 20th 2010
TCC catching up to Magnetic with solar technologies
It looks like Townsville City Council is catching up fast with Magnetic Island's solar status with the installation of the biggest array of Australian-made, cutting-edge, ‘Sliver’ photovoltaic (PV) panels in the nation, and they are doing it on the Council's Administration building roof.
Under the Federal Government’s Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program (RCLIP), the $360,000 project has involved a 20kW PV system and more than 3000 square metres of roof area painted with reflective white paint.
Environment and Sustainability Committee chairman Cr Vern Veitch said the two installations were reducing the building’s cooling load while capturing energy from the sun.
“The solar-reflective white paint works by reflecting much of the sun’s heat during the day, and it’s amazing how much cooler the roof space is now, so it must be making a considerable difference to the building’s energy demands to keep the offices below at a comfortable temperature,” Cr Veitch said.
“The solar panels are brand new, Australian-made Sliver panels, which is the best technology in solar panel design in the world.”
The new 'Silver' solar panels
Cr Veitch said the technology for the new ‘Sliver’ panels was developed by the Australian National University and produced by Origin Energy. It uses thin slivers of silicon to create a light, flexible panel that is more efficient than other designs.
“This system uses up to 90 per cent less silicon than conventional panels, but will generate the energy equivalent to running almost six homes,” he said.
“It will reduce the council’s carbon emissions by 50 tons per year.”
An Ergon Energy-led consortium which includes Townsville City Council has been running its Solar Cities project on Magnetic Island for over a year. The project includes free energy assessments of Magnetic Island homes and businesses, the installation of about 500 Ergon Energy solar PV systems and about 1700 smart meters as well as a plan to generate 100kw of solar power from shade structures at the former Sport and Recreation Club at Horsehoe Bay.
The council is investigating the feasibility of incorporating the its admin building site in its interpretative eco-tours so that residents can learn more about solar technology in the home.
The project was officially opened today by Senator Jan McLucas and Cr Les Tyrell.
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