Lake Mac improving performance through smart technology and innovation
Solar panels on the roof of the Lake Macquarie City Council Administration Building
Lake Macquarie City Council is proud to be a local government organisation committed to improving performance through innovation and smart technology. For the past eight years, Council has looked for ways to use new technology to drive down energy costs and reduce our environmental impact. Through determined effort and planning, they have increased their solar PV capacity from zero in 2008 to 0.5 MW in 2016, with 15 of their buildings now having been upgraded through the installation of onsite power generation.
With a massive 178 kW PV system installed on the roof in 2015, Council’s Administration Building officially qualifies as a power station, and the City Art Gallery has become one of the most sustainable exhibition spaces in regional Australia after receiving 30 kW of solar panels and improving efficiency by switching over to a state-of-the-art LED lighting system.
Council’s Acting Manager Sustainability Dean Chapman said together, these efforts have taken Council to 80% of its 2023 target of 0.6 MW installed.
“And every dollar we spend on efficiency ultimately pays off, helping advance cutting-edge technologies, reducing pollution and benefiting ratepayers by saving $170,000 in Council’s annual electricity costs,” Mr Chapman said.
This journey has involved significant commitment and innovation, and Lake Macquarie City Council has arrived at a model for optimal solar rollout: scale, reliability and affordability.
“We are now in the process of applying this approach to Council buildings across the City. We are also developing innovative funding models for installation of solar panels on the buildings Council leases to community groups. This smart management initiative will help reduce electricity costs for these groups while increasing clean energy generation in Lake Macquarie City.”
To complement our work on onsite generation, Council has implemented initiatives to reduce its overall electricity consumption by replacing office lighting with 1,664 more energyefficient LEDs, resulting in a 50% decrease in electricity use for lighting.
“We see the combination of smart investments in energy efficiency and clean energy as integral to the City’s commitment to cost reduction, innovation and smart management.”