TAMWORTH Regional Council (TRC) could embark on a million dollar power play signalling a big shift towards renewable energy.
Councillors will vote on a $1.1 million plan to install solar power at 12 of its facilities in the region, notably TRECC, AELEC and the Sports Dome.
If council goes ahead with the scheme, it expects to receive a significant rebate from the Clean Energy Regulator which will take the overall cost down to just more than $876,000.
With an estimated saving of more than $141,000 per year, council estimates the scheme would pay for itself within 10 years.
However, TRC’s current energy contract will expire at the end of this financial year and an earlier report suggested “a 50 per cent increase in energy costs would see the pay back period reduced to almost six years.”
A 50 per cent increase in energy costs would see the pay back period reduced to almost six years.- Tamworth Regional Council report
The council sites chosen to switch to solar need a combined 590kW of power.
According to council’s report, every kW of solar power results in a reduction of 1.8 tonnes of greenhouse gasses, if the project is approved, TRC could reduce its greenhouse gas output by more than 1062 tonnes a year.
It would also be a chance for council to catch-up to the rest of the community with more than one-in-six dwellings in Tamworth tapping into solar energy, while only one per cent of council facilities are soaking up power from the sun.
Solar power advocate Adam Blakester said the numbers of houses using solar would be more remarkable when you consider the impasses facing renters.
He estimated “owner-occupiers” accounted for 60 per cent of dwellings
“We’ll hit a limit until we sort out what to do with rental issues,” he said.
“If you’ve got a landlord, they own the building but you pay the power bill. “Once we crack the code, we’ll see a whole new wave.”
He said local governments across the region had the opportunity to set the pace when it came to adopting renewable energy.
He said councils in Lismore and on the Sunshine Coast had worked on larger scale solar schemes to run all of their facilities.
Once Lismore’s project comes to fruition, he believed more councils would latch-on to the idea.
“Tamworth would be well-suited to something like that,” he said.
“If they’re not already watching what Lismore does, I think they would be wise to.”
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