The Ballina Shire Council wants to see the impressive solar panel array at the Ballina wastewater plant duplicated at the Lennox Head treatment plant.
The Ballina plant currently has 1200 panels installed, producing 300 kilowatts of electricity
‘It’s the most up to date in the country,’ Ballina’s mayor David Wright said.
‘It been running 12 months now but it hasn’t been fully commissioned because there have been a few things needing to be fixed but once its fully operational it will most likely save us the equivalent of the emissions from 60 houses.
Cr Wright said Ballina would be ‘going the whole hog’ once battery technology improved to allow overnight storage of electricity.
He said the only impediment at Lennox Head was the size of the treatment plant.
‘At Lennox we don’t have the space on the ground that we have in Ballina but we’re looking at other options such as leasing land,’ Cr Wright said.
And while other regional councils are moving forward with introducing sustainable technologies such as solar, Cr Wright believes Ballina should be proud of the progress being made.
‘Even though we don’t crow about it I believe we are further along that other councils,’ he said.
Cr Wright said residents would have the opportunity to visit the Ballina plant this year once it was commissioned.
‘We are planning to hold open days in 2015 to give the community the opportunity to see the new plant in operation and the solar display that powers it.’
‘The panels are an impressive display; sitting in lines like soldiers on parade,’ he said.
‘The solar system is designed to conservatively produce 466,000 kilowatt hours per year, which equates to approximately 414,740 kilograms in reduced CO2 emissions each year.
‘This is equal to removing 60 average households from the electricity grid.’
‘With expected savings of $9,500 a month, the solar system will pay for itself in approximately 7-years based on modest electricity price increases.
‘Once payback is reached, the system should generate enough electricity in its lifetime to save council a further $2 to $2.5 million.”
The suite of solar panels are part of the augmentation of the $50 million upgrade to the Ballina Waste Water Treatment Plant that has the capacity to produce quality water to supply council’s recycled water program into new urban areas.
‘The water being supplied is as clean as you get from the tap,’ he said.
Cr Wright said councillors would consider expanding the Lennox Head facility to include solar early this year.