Ipswich leading nation in solar panel installation
THE blazing Ipswich sun is proving itself to be an increasingly valuable resource.
As Queensland leads the national transition towards the use of solar power, Ipswich homes and businesses are more than pulling their weight when it comes to the uptake of solar across the nation.
In fact, figures released by the Australian Photovoltaic Institute show Ipswich is one of the nation's top ten solar hotspots.
The 4305 postcode now has 6735 homes utilising the power of the sun; representing about 30% of the total number of dwellings in the postcode.
The figures only reflect the installation of solar power systems producing less than 10 kilowatts.
Australian PV Institute chairman Renate Egan said Australians were now generating enough power from the sun to supply nearly all the households in Melbourne.
Dr Egan said home owners, big business and large solar farms were all contributing to an extra 1 billion watts of solar power being added to the grid over the past year.
"Solar power now makes up 11% of our country's total electricity generation capacity, with more solar added to the system in 2016 than any other fuel type," Dr Egan said.
"These numbers are so big they can be difficult to picture, but to put 6 gigawatts into perspective, that is twice the capacity of Australia's largest coal-fired power station, Loy Yang, in Victoria."
Closer to home, egg producer Sunny Queen's Carole Park distribution centre recently invested heavily in the construction of a 100kW solar system on the roof of a new under-cover employee car park.
The system includes 90m of solar panels producing 450kW hours per day.
RPS planning principal Simon Pollock said Sunny Queen's was the first solar project in Queensland where one continuous line of PV panelling would be installed in a staff car park.
"Not only will this benefit staff by providing protection for their cars from hail storms but it also provides a renewable energy source for the business - and the cost of the shade structure will eventually be paid back through savings in energy costs," he said.
Mr Pollock called on the governments to respond to the growing public support of solar power.
"It would be great to see the State or Federal Governments provide further incentives or policy direction in support of renewable energy to encourage the development of solar initiatives," he said.
Solar analyst Warwick Johnson said the rising price of electricity and the relatively low cost of setting up a solar system was proving enough of an incentive for many people.