Townsville City Council has recently utilised the funds from the Federal Government’s Regional and Local Infrastructure Program to develop a solar ‘learnscape’ on the roof of our own CBD administration building which will reduce the building’s cooling load, while also capturing energy from the sun. This demonstration project includes cutting-edge technology in the form of a 20kW Australian-made Sliver Solar Panel array developed by the Australian National University and produced by Origin Energy and uses thin slivers of silicon to create a light, more efficient, flexible panel.
This system uses up to 90% less silicon than conventional panels, but will generate the energy equivalent to running almost six homes, and reduce council’s carbon emissions by 50 tons per year.
Partnered with this project has been the painting of the CBD administration building’s 3000m2 roof-surface with a solar-reflective white membrane. This membrane reflects much of the sun’s heat back during the day, and can lower the temperature in the roof cavity some ten degrees, and significantly reduce the load on our air-conditioners as Townsville once again heads into what looks like another long hot summer!
The project was officially opened by Senator Jan McLucas and Cr Les Tyrell in January, and its success has prompted council to apply for further funding to install similar infrastructure at the administration building in Thuringowa Central.