Council installed its first solar system in 2009. This was a 2kW grid connected solar system on the Bathurst Visitor Information Centre with funding received through the Australian Government’s Nation Building – Economic Stimulus Plan. At a cost of around $28,000 this was a significant investment. Today a system of this size would cost less than 10% of that amount.
Since that time Council has installed grid connected solar systems of varying sizes at 15 of its facilities. The total capacity of these systems is just over 571kW, with the most recent installation a 90kW system installed at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre in July 2020. Together these systems supply around 6% of Council’s annual electricity consumption.
The 35kW system installed at the Bathurst Visitor Information Centre in the second half of 2018 was the first Council installation to include battery storage. It has a 10kWh battery and the system was sized with the aim to achieve net zero import of electricity from the grid over a 12-month period. More recently the solar system at Scallywags has been augmented with an additional 11kW of solar panels and a 13.5kWh Tesla battery.
The Bathurst 2040 Community Strategic Plan commits Council to further offset its energy use by implementing more renewable energy projects to help us live more sustainably and reduce the use of non-renewable resources. Council is also focused on improving the energy efficiency of its operations and is working towards reducing its total electricity consumption per resident over time.