Orange City Council’s biggest array of solar panels will be installed on the roof of the Orange Aquatic Centre.
 
The council will sign the contract with local supplier Kenjarhy Solar to install the 100KV system in a deal which will see no upfront costs.
 
Orange City Council’s Environmental Sustainability Committee chair Cr Neil Jones said the council is making good progress towards making use of more renewable energy.
 
“The council has installed large banks of panels on the works depot roof and at a number child care centres, and at each of those facilities there’s been major savings,” Cr Neil Jones said. “Many council facilities use most of their power in the daytime when solar panel generation as at its peak.
 
“As panels become more mainstream, Australia’s business community is seeing opportunities to get involved and so the council is trying a new financial basis for this latest project.”
 
The Aquatic Centre project went out to tender earlier in the year and the tender was awarded by the council in June.
 
Under the agreement to be signed this week, Orange firm Kenjarhy Solar will pay for the panels and the installation, and will then sell the power generated back to the council at a rate that will be less expensive than the current rate from the grid. The arrangement lasts for 15 years and then the array will become the property of the council.  Under the deal, the council could in future years opt to buy the array.  
 
Kenjarhy Solar Managing Director Brad Draper said he was pleased to be taking on a key community project.
 
“It’s great to see a key community project that delivers benefits for the environment as well better value for rate-payers,” Brad Draper said.

“The Aquatic Centre uses both gas to heat water and electricity to power filters and space-heating, so the solar panels won’t be meeting the facility’s entire energy needs, but they will be making a difference.”
 
“We’re an indigenous-owned business. As well as our own staff we’ll be employing a number of indigenous labourers on this project.” 
 
Cr Neil Jones said the Aquatic Centre solar array is the kind of development local residents can expect to see more of, since the council signed up to the Cities Power Partnership at its latest meeting.    “I was impressed that Orange City Council unanimously signed up, along with 21 councils across Australia, to be a part of this Climate Council sponsored initiative known as the Cities Power Partnership, Cr Neil Jones said.”
 
“There’ll be opportunities to learn together and share information about how other councils around Australia are making this renewables journey, but there’ll also be a cost. Over the next six months we’ve committed to identify our first five items on the ‘Power Partners Pledge’ that we’ll aim to achieve. There are 32 partnership pledge actions* to choose from ranging from renewable energy, efficiency, transport and advocacy.
 
“These pledges items could be steps like the new solar array at the pool. It could be as simple as encouraging more sustainable transport, such as walking cycling and public transport. 
 
*PARTNERSHIP PLEDGE EXAMPLES:  + Denman Prospect (ACT) requires all new homes to have a minimum sized solar system. + Moreland City Council (VIC) has a planning guide to prevent solar panels from over shadowing. + Sunshine Coast Council has developed its own solar farm to power council operations. + Manningham City Council’s (VIC) action plan targets 100% of fleet cars to be green electric vehicles by 2020. + City of Wollongong (NSW) updated an ageing building to achieve a 5 Star Green Star rating. + Adelaide City Council (SA) has a Sustainability Incentives Scheme for local residents.