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Queanbeyan Council goes solar

QUEANBEYAN City Council will have solar panels installed on its chambers to reduce carbon emissions and work towards a carbon neutral workplace.

Councillors discussed this at the last ordinary meeting and it was argued the panels would place Queanbeyan Council at the leading edge in sustainable practices.

Queanbeyan Council spokesman Ricky Tozer said, `‘It will be expected that the system will meet all of our energy requirements.

‘`[We will have] enough power to feed in to the local electricity grid and therefore generate a bit of income.’’ Thanks to the feed-in tariff, which would pay consumers for any extra electricity they produced and sent in to the local grid, the project would pay for itself within six to nine years, Mr Tozer said.

The council was unable to reveal the cost of the installation or how these revenues would be spent.

Queanbeyan-Monaro Greens Convenor Don Dilley said the Greens supported the project in principle, but the party was concerned about the project’s financial viability.

`‘Queanbeyan Council is to be commended for taking this first step. But it’s only a first step,’’ Mr Dilley said.

‘`Councils need to move towards… stressing the problems not just at the administrative levels in the council but beyond that.’’ Mr. Tozer told NowUC the project was under a process of tender, but he could not reveal the cost of the installation.

`‘[We] will be funded from a $150,000 refund given to the council by country energy as a result of its inability to satisfy service level requirements for the maintenance of Council’s street lighting infrastructure,’’ he said.

These initiatives were started as a part of the council’s sustainability report which was released to address the environmental impact that Council was having in the Queanbeyan area.

This report set out recommendations for reducing green house emissions, with emphasis on recycling, renewable energy and environmental training for staff.

‘`[The report] looks at a number of things, like the paper purchasing policy that ensures we use paper with the highest proportion of recycled content, making double sided printing the default setting on all printers and an inventory of energy consumption activities in Queanbeyan’s parks and gardens,’’ Mr Tozer said, The council has also introduced more efficient cars to their fleet, opting for four cylinder and hybrid vehicles.

Queanbeyan-Monaro convener Mr Dilly said, `‘The council is doing things in terms of cutting back on consumption of fuel with its cars and now this next initiative which looks good, it’s a matter of continuing down that path.’’ Mr Dilly pointed to Armadale Council as an example of how councils could affect change.

‘`The Armadale council seems to be taking significant steps,’’ he said.

`‘Not just in terms of using solar energy but moving out to encourage local businesses and the rate payers to take on means of saving on energy and cutting back on emissions.

`‘Queanbeyan-Monaro Greens would like to see that happen [in Queanbeyan].’’

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