In May 2017, Rainbow Power Company completed its largest installation so far, at the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre (GSAC) in Lismore. The GSAC was fitted with 360 solar panels, with a 93.6 kW capacity – a massive array by any standards. This was undertaken in collaboration with Lismore City Council, working towards their Renewable Energy Master Plan – a grand vision of reliance on 100% renewable energy by 2023.
Rainbow Power has previously installed grid connect systems on other Council buildings, including Oakes oval, Goonellabah Community Centre, Lismore library and the Wyrallah Road Council facility. This latest installation is expected to have paid for itself in five to seven years, and puts Lismore City Council well on the way to meeting their admirable target for renewables. Rainbow Power Company is proud to support Lismore Council, and acknowledges the importance of the solar industry locally, and the economic flow on effects of big jobs like these.
Council is currently undertaking feasibility studies, and calling for quotes for installation of further grid connect systems, on their facilities. Looking around Lismore, at all that roof space, and large publicly-owned buildings, such as Southern Cross University, Lismore hospital, the new Regional Art Gallery, it is not hard to appreciate the scope and potential for making a positive statement and real environmental impact, through taking control of energy consumption and generation in the public sector.
Council's action serves as a terrific example of the feasibility of large scale commercial solar installations. Commercial premises represent the ideal scenario for grid connect solar solutions. Peak demand for power occurs during the day, when everyone is at work, using lights, computers, air conditioning etc. Coincidentally, during the day is when the sun can usually be found in the sky, and solar energy is there for the taking. In most commercial premises, power consumption drops significantly during the night, when solar is not available and the grid-connected system can then draw power through the mains.
There is no real need for battery storage in this scenario, however battery storage is still an option if there is a likelihood of harvesting excess power during the day. Rather than diverting all of this electricity to the grid, it is possible to use some of the excess energy to charge batteries, which will always be useful in times of peak demand, or when blackouts occur on the electricity grid. Commercial grid connect systems are generally designed to pay for themselves in around five years, making solar power a cost effective alternative for large scale commercial premises, as well as the everyday household.