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Willoughby Council appointed Solgen Energy Group to design, install and construct 170kW of solar power on the Albert Avenue car park in Westfield Chatswood. The project formed part of a three-year plan to build a 300 kilowatt energy system that provides power directly to three council-owned buildings and earned Solgen a Clean Energy Council award recognising excellence across technical design and installation.
Willoughby City Council had a vision to meet more of its energy consumption from a sustainable energy source and solar PV would play a large role. One of the Council’s key requirements for the project was to feed renewable electricity from the solar panels into its neighbouring community building, the Dougherty Centre.
The project highlighted unique and innovative challenges for Solgen including the construction of a steel frame and solar array atop a seven storey working car park to create a solar carport for parked cars.
The power generated from the array is utilised at a nearby Council community centre requiring cabling to cross busy streets in the centre of Chatswood.
Solgen’s careful planning across structural steel, civil and electrical works delivered the project ahead of time and within budget.
|Date completed:||November 2012|
|Solar system peak capacity:||170kW|
|Panel:||Schott Poly 240W, 235W|
|Inverter:||SMA Tripower, Mini Central Inverters|
|Green savings:||300 tonnes of emissions per annum|
|Solar electricity generated:||270MWh per annum|
“We’re delighted to have been involved in this project for Willoughby City Council. Being recognised for the outstanding achievements of our engineers and installation teams is a credit to the ongoing development of our core competencies in commercial solar,” said Solgen Energy Group Executive General Manager Joe Coco.
“The coordination of Solgen’s project managers and photovoltaic engineers resulted in a well planned and executed project.”
Following the solar install, Willoughby City Council asked Solgen to incorporate battery storage into the existing system. This would allow the Council to harness the excess energy generated that would otherwise be fed back into the grid. The battery upgrade was completed in December 2015.
The council’s director of sustainability projects Sally Hamilton, said the project would pay for itself in energy savings over the 25-year life of the solar panels. Energy generated by the rooftop system will be diverted into the main council office, a childcare centre and a community centre, (source: Sydney Morning Herald).
The system produces approximately 213MWh of clean energy from the sun each year, enough to offset emissions from 45 cars (228 tonnes CO2e).
Willoughby City Council is able to monitor the performance of the system through an integrated online monitoring system. Solgen also provided training to use the monitoring system as well as maintenance, shutdown and emergency procedures.
The system continues to promote Willoughby City Council as a champion in environmental initiatives. It visibly demonstrates the Council’s commitment to taking action on climate change and simultaneously provides it with financial and environmental rewards.