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April 24, 2021

Lismore makes big splash on solar

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Lismore's memorial baths
Lismore Memorial Baths.

Lismore City Council has installed its biggest solar hot-water system yet, with hundreds of solar evacuated tubes now visible on the roof of the Lismore Memorial Baths.

The solar evacuated tube system (pictured) is the final component in stage one of the Community Energy Efficiency Program, funded by the federal government and Council’s Cities for Climate Protection Fund.

Along with the new system, both the baths and the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre have upgraded indoor and outdoor lighting to LEDs and installed variable speed drives to improve pool-pump efficiency.

The energy efficient measures represent a collective saving of $124,000 per year, which equates to 531,273 kilowatt hours. More importantly, it will reduce Council’s CO2 emissions annually by 561 tonnes.

‘Our new solar hot water system is so big it can heat the whole pool and the showers,’ environmental strategies officer Anton Nguyen said.

‘It’s great that the solar tubes themselves are so visible to the community because it shows we are really leading the charge for renewables.

‘Every time people are out swimming, they will see the solar tubes and hopefully connect that they are heating the water for the facility.’

Anton said he had received lots of interest from leisure and aquatic centre managers that are seeing the financial and environmental benefits of energy efficiency.

‘From a private operator’s perspective it’s a no-brainer – save money and promote the fact you’re a clean, green business,’ Anton said.

‘At Council it took some coordination because so many different departments have to be involved to achieve something like this.

‘But we had a great team with environmental strategies staff, assets staff and leisure operations staff working collaboratively towards a common goal. Those internal partnerships are essential if government is to lead the way in sustainability.’

Anton said it was a proud moment to see Council’s biggest solar hot water system installed. He hopes the next one will be significantly bigger with the launch of Council’s community-owned solar farm.

‘All these things are helping us work toward our new goal in the Renewable Energy Master Plan, which should be complete by August,’ Anton said.

‘The aim is to self-generate all Council’s electricity from renewable resources by 2023. It’s a big challenge but imagine if Lismore was the first Council in Australia to do it? That would be a real feather in Lismore’s cap as a renewable city.’

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