Initiating a solution for the future

Cairns Regional Council was keen to implement a solution that would offset the high electricity bills associated with their operations. In addition, they were also looking for a solution that would contribute to their 2020 target to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 50%. In response, the council decided to invest in solar energy.

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Experience-led solution

Solgen Energy Group was awarded the engineering procurement and construction of five systems with a combined output of 165kW. By implementing these systems, the council is estimated to cut 169 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually and reduce their electricity bills by $100,000 per annum. From this latest roll-out, the council has tripled their existing solar energy production and are expected to recoup initial costs in less than 3 years.

As part of the project, Solgen delivered tailored designs and managed the installation of solar power systems for Smithfield Library (30kW), Muddy’s Café and Playground on the Esplanade (15kW), Gordonvale Depot (30kW), Plumber Depot (30kW) and the Portsmith Materials Recovery Facility (60kW).

Solar power project details

Client: Cairns Regional Council
Location: Various sites, QLD
Date completed: December, 2016
Solar system peak capacity: 165kW combined
Panels:  Trina and Sunpower
Inverters: SMA Sunny Tripowers

Windy conditions make an impact

Due to the cyclonic wind conditions of Far North Queensland, the size and height of each building as well as the angle and tilt of each roof was a critical consideration through the design specification phases. As a result, each system was installed flush-mounted to reduce wind loading and utilised double glass panels to cope with harsh environmental conditions and maximise self-cleaning of the panels during rain. In addition, the long-term higher yields from the double-glass panels strengthened council’s business case.

At the Muddy’s Playground site, Sunpower 327W Mono modules were used due to their higher power output ensuring maximum yield given the limited roof space available. Mobile charging stations were included in the Muddy’s Playground and Smithfield Library site to help promote the council’s initiatives with solar.

Solgen also included the installation of Solar Analytics, an extensive monitoring system to capture and analyse their black power consumption and solar production. This system not only allows the council to track peak solar production times – ensuring all solar energy produced is being consumed – but also allows them to analyse their usage and efficiency for future solar projects.

With Solgen’s project management experience, all construction was fully communicated to the client, working around their daily operations to ensure a smooth installment with little-to-no loss in productivity despite being fully operational sites at the time of installation.


The installation of 165kW photovoltaic system is expected to:

  • Deliver a reduction to the council’s electricity bills by $100,000 annually.
  • Reduce greenhouse emissions every year by more than 169 tonnes demonstrating to the public positive action on climate change by the local government.
  • Assist in their target to slash their greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2020.

To enquire about how solar can facilitate your business, contact our energy consultants today.


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