Solar powers Ballina wastewater treatment

reuse solar panels

Ballina Shire Council is installing a combined 150kW solar system at its Alstonville and Wardell Wastewater Treatment Plants.

The installation of the 5B Maverick solar solution is part of the council’s commitment to 100 per cent renewable electricity operations by 2030.

Since 2017 the council has installed 11 solar farms on council sites, including the Ballina Wastewater Treatment Plant, council’s administration centre and works depot, and community facilities.

The 5B Maverick is designed and manufactured in Australia. Its pre-mounted and pre-wired arrays can be deployed twice as fast, with less manual intervention, than conventional ground-mounted solar, and generates twice the amount of energy from the same footprint of land.

Sharon Cadwallade, Ballina Shire Council Mayor, said the wastewater treatment plants operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to treat the shire’s wastewater.

“Once complete, council’s Water and Wastewater Solar Strategy will see the installation of almost 1MW of solar at our wastewater treatment sites, which will double council’s current solar generation,” she said.

“Council is currently generating 10 per cent of its electricity needs from onsite solar installations. The wastewater treatment plant installations will increase solar generation to 20 per cent within the next 12 months.”

Chris McGrath, 5B Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, said local councils play an important role in decarbonising New South Wales.

“This supports Australia’s ambition to cut emissions this decade by 43 per cent from 2005 levels. It is great to see Ballina rebuilding with an eye on the future of energy generation for the benefit of future generations,” said McGrath.

A 100kW system will be installed at Alstonville Wastewater Treatment Plant, which will produce 31 per cent of its existing power needs and will decrease the power bill by about 26 per cent.

A 50kW system will be installed at Wardell Wastewater Treatment Plan, which will produce 55 per cent of the current power needs of the plant.

Ballina Shire Council has a long history in taking climate change action. In 2019 council declared a state of Climate Emergency and in response a new Climate Change Policy was adopted in 2021.

The Climate Change policy sets organisational emissions reduction targets, and provides a framework for progressing climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience strategies for Council and the community.

The Council’s targets are more ambitious than the NSW and Australian Governments and aim to achieve rapid emissions reduction by using 100 per cent renewable electricity for its operations by 2030 and reducing its operational greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero emissions by 2030.

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