The Coffs Harbour Education Campus is a unique tertiary education facility that is run by the collaborative group of Southern Cross University, North Coast TAFE and the NSW Department of Education and Training.

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Educate through solar

While offering a high standard of educational programs to the Coffs Harbour community, the campus also provides a wide range of student services facilities to provide a dynamic and interactive environment to support student’s education.

In line with its commitment to achieving sustainable operations across its facilities, the campus desired to use renewable solar power to supply electricity to both the Library and the Learning Spaces buildings.

Solgen Energy was contracted in late 2014 to design the 100kW solar power installation.

Solar Power Project Details

Client:Coffs Harbour Education Campus
Location:Coffs Harbour – NSW
Date Completed:December 2014
Solar system peak capacity:100kW
Panel:382 x Trina Poly 260W modules
Inverter:4 x SMA Sunny Tripower 25000TL
Green savings:133.57 tonnes of emissions per annum
Solar electricity generated:124.8 MWh per annum


The dual roof layout of the solar power system, installed over the Library and Learning Spaces buildings, share the same main switchboard. Ideally, a separate solar power system would be installed on each building to supply the building’s electrical load, but with the photovoltaic arrays installed at Coffs Harbour Education Campus, the two solar arrays needed to be connected to the shared main switchboard.

This implied that the solar power system at the Learning Spaces building would potentially have long DC cables connecting the arrays, which is an undesirable feature for the solar power system due to high power losses through the DC wiring.

There were also roof anchor points strewn across the surface of the roof that limited the available space for solar panels.


To minimise any occurrence of power losses in the DC cables, Solgen Energy decided to use a cable with a larger cross section area to decrease its resistivity, and run the cable across the roofs of the two buildings to decrease its length and overall resistance.

Solgen Energy’s engineers were able to ensure that any system losses or voltage rise occurrences experienced due to the use of the extra-long DC cable is kept within a reasonable range and complies with all relevant Australian Standards.

In addition, Solgen Energy installed UV stabilised conduit to enclose this cable so it is not exposed to the environment and eliminates any safety concerns of running the cable across the buildings.

Furthermore, Solgen Energy adopted a symmetrical layout for the solar array on the library roof that avoided the shading produced by the window platform on its top floor and ensured that the array is visually pleasing for the visitors of the building.

The result is a 100kW solar power system, with solar panels installed on the rooftop of two buildings to supply renewable energy for the campus.


The installation of a 100kW photovoltaic system will:

  • Demonstrate the commitment of NSW education facilities in adopting renewable energy and sustainable practices.
  • Offset up to 133.57 tonnes of CO2 each year.
  • Inspire the students at the campus to embrace renewable energy technologies.
  • Showcase the increase in popularity of solar power in the community and raise awareness for the need in sustainable practices.

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


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