Solar to power Sand Bypass System on Gold Coast

Sand Bypass System

A pilot solar-powered, renewable energy system will be used to help power the Gold Coast’s Seaway Sand Bypass System, reducing carbon emissions and driving down operational costs.

Design work is underway on a 100-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array to be installed at the Sand Bypass System at The Spit.

The Sand Bypass System transports 500,000 cubic metres of sand from The Spit to South Stradbroke Island each year, helping to keep the Gold Coast Seaway safe and navigable for recreational and commercial vessels.

The Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) has awarded the contract to design, install and maintain the pilot solar system to a local company, SAE Group.

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Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the project complemented the Palaszczuk Government commitment to renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to renewable energy and to its 50 per cent renewable energy target for 2030,” Mr Bailey said.

“The Sand Bypass System supports the sustainable operation of our waterways, but it requires a significant amount of energy to ensure the waterways remain accessible and safe.

‘‘This 100-kilowatt, solar-powered system will produce enough energy to meet the day-time needs of the Sand Bypass System, helping to reduce the annual electricity bill by $24,000.”

CEO Hal Morris said the project reinforces the GCWA’s commitment to sustainability.

‘We’re running this as a pilot program to help us improve our understanding of the solar output potential of the area, the impact of the coastal environment on solar systems and the Sand Bypass System’s energy load profile.

‘We’ll then use this information to determine if the system can be expanded to further reduce our operating costs and our carbon footprint in future.’

The Sand Bypass System consumes about 1.5 megawatts of electricity when fully operational, or enough energy to power about 200 homes.

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SAE Group, based at Tweed Heads, has undertaken commercial solar installations for the Port of Brisbane, schools involved in the Solar Schools program and numerous businesses in northern New South Wales.

“SAE Group are incredibly excited to power the Seaway Sand Bypass project with solar energy,” said Managing Director, Glen Ashton.

“The seaway is such an integral part of life on the Gold Coast, and what better way to demonstrate our commitment to a sustainable future than to reduce carbon emissions on one of our greatest natural assets.”

GCWA is investing $350,000 in the pilot project.

Installation is expected to start in April and be finished by the end of June this year.

A 100-kilowatt system is sufficient to power about 12 homes.