The 95kW solar system.

Unitywater has flicked the switch on a 95kW solar system, featuring 350 solar panels placed on the roof of its Northern Service Centre at Maroochydore (QLD).

It is believed to be one of the biggest roof-mounted solar systems on the Sunshine Coast, and is the largest commercial installation ever carried out by Nambour solar business Air-Rite.

The project is part of Unitywater’s Carbon and Cost Abatement Management Plan which is aimed at finding ways to reduce both electricity costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

The $150,000 system is expected to generate 74 per cent of Unitywater’s annual electricity needs at the NSC with an average of $40,000 in savings per year.

It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 111 tonnes of carbon per year.

“This is particularly exciting because it is the first solar project for Unitywater,” Unitywater Executive Manager of Infrastructure Planning and Capital Delivery Simon Taylor said.

“Solar panels are such a cost-effective way to generate clean, green energy.

“Unitywater is always looking at ways to integrate sustainable energy technologies into its daily operations.”

Air-Rite’s team of five staff, including two electricians, two apprentice electricians and a Diploma of Renewable Energy-qualified installer, spent six weeks installing the solar panels.

“This 95kW installation is the largest commercial solar installation Air-Rite has undertaken to date,” Air-Rite Sales Manager Greg Machin said.

“Well over 500 man hours of labour was required to complete the installation.

“With Unitywater consuming most of its power through the day, a high percentage of the solar-generated power is self-consumed on site, reducing their reliance on the grid.

“Apart from this benefit, the solar system reduces the site’s peak electrical demand, further reducing Unitywater’s power costs.”

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