Sunshine Coast solar farm switches on

An Australian-first solar farm on the Sunshine Coast has been switched on.

The Sunshine Coast Council is first local government in Australia to offset 100 per cent of its electricity across all of its facilities and operations with the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm.

The $50.4 million project, located at Valdora, west of Coolum, is one of the first large-scale solar farms to be fully operational in Queensland.

Energy produced from 58,000 solar panels at the farm will be sold to the grid for the best price and bought back even cheaper.

Assistant Minister Glenn Butcher, who joined Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson at yesterday’s ceremony, said 60 jobs were created during the construction of the 15MW solar farm.

“The best part is Sunshine Coast Council will soon start reaping the rewards of its efforts with the farm expected to provide $22 million in savings, after costs, over a 30-year period,” Mr Butcher said.

“We’ve seen an unprecedented level of renewable energy investment, with 17 large-scale projects being committed since January 2016.

“These projects, totalling almost 1200MW, will create more than 2200 construction jobs, boost investment by $2.3 billion, and produce enough electricity to power around 520,000 homes.

“When constructed, they will almost double the state’s renewable energy generation output.

“The prospects for future investment in Queensland are also strong, with more than 5000MW of projects in the broader pipeline.”

Minister for Local Government Mark Furner said the council should be applauded for the project.

“The council plans to offset 100 per cent of their electricity consumption across administration buildings, aquatic centres, community and performance venues, as well as holiday parks, libraries, art galleries and sporting facilities,” he said.

“Queensland is experiencing a renewable energy boom, and this project will not only bring more affordable electricity to the Sunshine Coast Council, but will bring flow-on benefits to the people of the Sunshine Coast.”

Energex completed the connection works for the solar farm last month.