Ergon Energy, QLD intends to sell its solar PV systems from the Magnetic Island Solar Cities project to the customers who hosted them.

General Manager Service Delivery Northern Paul Ryan said the systems would be offered for sale at a significantly reduced rate to the 180 residential and commercial customers.

“The state of the art systems were purchased by Ergon in 2007/08 before solar PV systems became popular and prices were higher than today.

“Ergon will write to hosts offering the systems for sale. Prices for individual systems will vary and be determined on a sliding scale from 30 cents ($0.30) to 50 cents ($0.50) a watt and on the age of the system.

“On average, a 1.5 kilowatt system will sell for approximately $500 which is approximately 20% of the cost to buy a new similar size system.

“Ergon will also pay the cost to move the connection point to the customer’s side of the meter to enable them to benefit from power generated. The customer may then be eligible for the Solar Bonus Scheme and a Feed in Tariff,” he said.

Hosts are under no obligation to purchase the system. “We understand some hosts may not wish to purchase the systems and Ergon will remove them as per the Hosting Agreement at no cost to them”, he said.

Systems which are removed will be used elsewhere.

“For commercial customers who volunteered to host the systems, the purchase price will depend on the system size, consumption levels and times. Ergon will contact them to present a personalised option,” he said.

Ergon will retain some of the larger installations such as the Solar Skate Park installation.

Mr Ryan said the Solar Cities project officially finished in June last year and the project time frame could not be extended.

“It became necessary to decide the long term ownership of the PV systems, and in doing so, we considered the interests of the residential and commercial hosts who volunteered to participate in the program as well as all the associated legal, regulatory and financial issues. After much discussion, it was decided that offering the systems for sale to hosts was more equitable than gifting them”, he said.

Mr Ryan said the Solar Cities project was a landmark project in terms of community engagement and environmental benefits.

“The project achieved a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 54,000 tonnes since 2008 while electricity consumption on the island returned to the same levels as 2005, allowing the deferral of the third submarine cable to the island by 10 years”, he said.

Solar City Magnetic Island Key Achievements:

  • Energy assessments to 82% of island customers
  • Average reduction in energy consumption per customer of 4.9% following energy assessment
  • Over 1500 smart meters installed
  • 212 PV systems installed – 1068kW
  • 350 kW of light bulbs replaced
  • 54,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases avoided (target 50,400 tonnes)
  • Consumption – 40% less than business as usual (target 25% reduction)
  • Peak demand – 46% less than business as usual (target 27% reduction)
  • Additional third submarine cable to the island deferred for at least ten years.
  • 620 kilowatts of solar photovoltaic generating systems (PV systems) installed on houses and businesses at no costs to hosts;
  • An additonal 100 kilowatt system on the Skate Park on Magnetic Island;
  • A 348 kilowatt system on the Townsville RSL Stadium.
  • Electricity consumption is back to the levels of 2005.


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