Council to save $200k a year on electricity bills
TWEED Shire Council is on track to save ratepayers more than $200,000 per year on electricity bills thanks to a push on solar.
The shire's renewable energy action plan is set to generate six per cent of total electricity demand from solar by the end of the year.
For this year council will have invested close to $450,000 on the project, with an additional $250,000 in grants.
And the investment is expected to generate an annual savings return of over $200,000 from reduced electricity and demand charges.
Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry said money spent on solar projects was expected to pay for itself in the next four to nine years.
Cr Cherry said residents lead the push for council to save money on powering local services.
Council was pushing to produce 25 per cent of all power by 2022 and 50 per cent by 2025, she said.
"It's a push from the community to keep the costs we use as a council down and to do it a lot more sustainably - I think people are pretty happy with it," Cr Cherry said.
"We have a lot of energy use, particularly in our water treatment plants but also in our street lighting and aquatic centres.
"We're looking for solar solutions. By the end of next year we'll have 1.3 megawatts of solar power. We're extremely proud of that."
Overall, council plans to reduce its total carbon footprint by 20 per cent of its 1996 level.
Cr Cherry said Tweed was just one of a number of council's across the country pushing for savings through renewable energy.
"It's huge, to make a saving like that is fantastic. For the long term future of the shire it's a positive step. We're well on the way.
"There is a general move from quite a few councils to look at (solar power) because electricity is a huge cost so they're looking for alternative and more sustainable solutions."
Cr Cherry said she eventually wanted council to look at battery storage.
"There's talk in the next stage to look at storage. It's a complicated step but we want to go there eventually," she said.