Parkes Council will spend $100,000 on solar investigations

Council to look more at solar

Parkes Shire Council will spend $100,000 on investigations, feasibility and design relating to the expansion of its current solar network which could see the Council operate its own “virtual network” in thefuture.

"It's time to revisit our overall strategy," Council's Director of Works and Services Ben Howard told council's February meeting.

"We've had a pretty big investment (in solar) since 2011, starting with the building we're sitting in at the moment and some of our smaller areas like our depot, the pool and of course more recently with our two large sewer and water infrastructure projects.

“We feel it's time now to revisit our overall strategy across the shire for the next stage of PV or whatever the future of PV and other energy best practices look like.

"What does the near to long term future hold for solar technology and storage technologies as part of that.

"Essentially we're seeking for $100,000 to put a strategy into place.

“If we can produce a large amount of solar we can put in place a virtual network which is something relatively new to the industry.”

Mr Howard said this would allow an organisation like council, if it can put a large amount of solar on one site, to put in place a virtual network.

“We we can sell power generated at one of our sites to one of our other sites which may not have the ability or space to put solar on,” he said.

"So we essentially start our own energy grid as long as it is within the existing sub-station or larger regional energy network.

"Obviously that has consulting and other costs involved in developing that.

“All of that thrown together is what we are seeking to do for that $100,000 investment.

As an example Mr Howard said explained the Council admin building had 100 kilowatts on the roof which is also making power on a weekend when there is virtually no one about on those days.

“At the moment the 100 kilowatts we've got here on the building, according to our solar information has produced 680 megawatts of power in its lifetime which means we've produced $122,000 of power across its lifetime but at a normal business tariff you can double that so we've made about a $240,000 offset just on the operational energy costs of this building alone, offsetting about one third of the total energy we use.

“If we have a couple of buildings that don't have room for solar we can produce solar elsewhere which we can sell to ourselves.”