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A new solar farm is slated to be built on a capped landfill site in Newcastle to significantly reduce the council’s annual $4 million electricity bill.
The farm adds on to one of Australia’s most advanced renewable energy setups at a waste facility, which already has a 2.2-megawatt landfill gas generator and a small wind turbine.
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With the additional energy available, the farm could lead to electric garbage trucks and improved battery storage.
The size of the new farm will cover an area of around five football fields between Summerhill’s entry road and construction waste area.
Construction is planned to begin in June and it is estimated the farm will save around $9 million after construction and operational costs are factored.
The farm’s 14,500 panels will be built by Lendlease and with most of the finance lent to Newcastle City Council through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s (CEFC) Local Government Finance Program.
“I’d like to thank the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for its incredible support of the City of Newcastle’s sustainability charter,” Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
“The solar farm will produce enough energy to run the equivalent of 1,300 households, which promises significant environmental returns for ratepayers and millions of dollars in savings on electricity costs,” she said.
“We are building sustainability into everything we do after reiterating our commitment last year to generate 30 per cent of our electricity needs from low-carbon sources and cut overall electricity usage by 30 per cent by 2020.”
“Increasing our renewable energy capability and finding more energy-efficient solutions is an integral part of our long-term vision to become a smart, liveable and sustainable city,” Cr Nelmes said.
Newcastle City Council secured a $6.5 million loan from the CEFC to build the $8 million project.