A clean energy operator is working with Ipswich City Council to turn the city into a centre for solar power.
Planet Ark Power wants the city’s unusually high number of rooftops to be the platform for a green energy boom geared towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2021.
“Ipswich, with its combination of large industrial estates, new residential developments and a visionary council administration is an ideal location to develop a clean energy Virtual Power Plant,” said Planet Ark Power’s executive director Richard Romanowski.
Council and Planet Ark Power will explore teaming up to work on innovative renewable energy solutions, some of which might help power part of the new Ipswich CBD redevelopment.
Council’s Office of Economic Development has outlined how council will enter into a memorandum of understanding with Planet Ark Power to investigate the viability of its market-leading technology and how it can transform the city’s energy consumption.
It is hoped the project enables Ipswich to meet its carbon reduction targets and become a net zero emissions city.
Economic Development Manager Paul Massingham said council’s Smart City and Innovation agenda promotes Ipswich as a living lab for innovative technologies, while council’s Sustainability Strategy has a goal of net zero carbon.
“The purpose of this MOU is to facilitate information sharing and analysis of current energy arrangements of council assets to enable an informed analysis and exploration of the use of Planet Ark Power’s unique technologies and the transformational impact this could have on a community,” he said.
“This will also include a detailed comparative analysis of energy consumption and costs of council assets.
“Council will work closely with Planet Ark Power to engage with local businesses and developers to explore renewable technologies as the way of doing business.
“We welcome new investment in renewable technology and looks forward to working with Planet Ark Power to explore the commercial and environmental benefits of its technology solutions.”
Mr Romanowski said his company is keen to work with council to optimise investment in solar PV across the city and in particular across its numerous large commercial rooftops.
“We want to help Ipswich transition to a clean energy future by exploring how our unique, world leading technology platform can, for the first time, allow clean, commercial scale solar energy to be generated right where it is needed instead of from remote solar farms that can incur significant transmission costs,” he said.
Rooftop solar photovoltaic (solar PV) technology has seen a significant uptake across South East Queensland in recent years.
Solar PV is widely seen as an alternative to traditional fossil-fuel energy and is promoted as a means of energy diversification to lessen the reliance of households on carbon intensive energy sources in order to combat climate change and the rising cost of power.
Planet Ark Power has developed a dynamic distributed voltage management system, known as eleXsys, which manages the export of surplus energy back into the electricity grid from behind the meter.
Over the past 18 months, Planet Ark Power has successfully demonstrated eleXsys at Llewellyn Motors at Bundamba.
Mr Massingham said Ranbury, council’s program management partner for the Nicholas Street development, was consulted and indicated positive potential applications for the development.