Parkes council looks to cut costs by installing further solar power systems

Parkes Shire Council is looking to install further solar power systems across its new water and sewer infrastructure as well as water storage and battery storage to optimise the sites and reduce council’s power costs.

Doing so will reduce council’s power costs, a cost that could then be re-directed to community projects.

Council voted at its November meeting to budget more than $3 million for the project and apply for funding for the balance of the $6.5 million needed, under the Building Better Regions grant program.

Council staff and the Project Management Office have developed with consultants a Strategy and Business Case to install further systems.

Council currently has approximately 220kW of rooftop solar on Council buildings and 400kW of ground mounted solar between the new WTP and STP/AWRF.

In a report to councillors, Director Infrastructure Andrew Francis said the work is aimed is to manage and expand the shire’s solar power assets in the short term, midterm, and long term to reduce the operation cost of the water infrastructure and also increase renewable energy usage in a sustainable and economic manner.

Council has received a report from Global Sustainable Energy Solutions which made a number of key operational recommendations which are currently in implementation and investigation. 

The report also made some key recommendations for capital expenditure to reduce ongoing operational energy costs.

Additional yearly savings at the water treatment plant are estimated at $41 at the water treatment plant, the distribution pump station $87,000 and the sewage pump station $58,000.

“The project is a good fit with the outcomes associated with Building Better Regions, and with a $1 for $1 match further halves the payback periods for the infrastructure,” Mr Francis said.

“Council's contribution, should the application be successful, will be $3,287,600.

“Council’s approval is sought for the figure to be budgeted for,” Mr Francis said.