Bring on summer with our solar panels already packing a punch!

Published on 24 August 2021

General Manager Lotta Jackson holding solar panels in front of Council's Administration Building.

Council’s commitment to reducing electricity consumption is paying off with significant results recorded. In fact, over the last four years Council has decreased consumption at its nine largest sites by 15%. We’ve also got good news about streetlights!

The reduction is a win for Council’s Energy Efficiency Program, which set out with the goal to reduce electricity consumption at Council’s major consuming sites.

Council’s General Manager, Lotta Jackson said the program is making huge gains.

“We’ve made changes including removing old fluorescent lighting replacing it with LED lights, more recently we’ve had 252 solar panels installed on three buildings. Even in winter the solar panels are doing an amazing job! In fact, since they were switched on in March they have generated a combined total of 58.5 megawatt hours and amazingly we’ve not only powered ourselves, during some parts of the day, but exported 19% to the grid. Put simply, we’re generating more power then we need in the middle of the day and giving back. We can’t wait to see the results over summer!”

Since 2016 Council’s made strong progress. Council’s nine largest energy using sites consumed a total of 1,394 Megawatt hours during 2016-17. In 2020-21 the same nine sites consumed 1,187 Megawatt hours. That’s a 15% decrease. Of course staff working from home during lockdowns has contributed to lowering consumption a bit, but there’s no doubt the decrease is largely attributed to the solar panels and LED lights. New LED streetlights installed on residential roads throughout the Cessnock Local Government Area are having an impact.

Council’s Streetlighting Replacement Program, saw over 2,000 streetlights replaced with LED lights which has decreased electricity usage by 23%. This drop in consumption includes the continual growth in additional streetlights for new subdivisions.

“It’s exciting and encouraging to see these results and inspires Council to continue to look for opportunities to lower emissions and reduce our carbon footprint. I look forward to sharing our wins,” General Manager Lotta Jackson said.

All savings made will cover the cost of the installation and be invested into future energy saving projects.

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