The roof top of public buildings in Queensland could be the key to powering the state with solar energy, new research has shown.
The analysis, commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation, found that installing solar panels on the roofs of public buildings in five local government areas would produce enough electricity to power 44,000 homes.
The research was carried out by the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
Schools, hospitals, prisons and libraries in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Logan and Gladstone have been found to have 727,574 square feet of solar potential on the roof.
The report’s author, Mike Roberts, said this was the equivalent of 45 soccer fields for solar panels.
“That’s 150 megawatts of solar and half a million solar panels,” said Roberts.
He said just over half of that energy could be generated by public schools alone.
“The Kenmore South State School has sufficient roof area for a 629 kW PV [kilowatt photovoltaics] Array – enough to power 203 homes, “he said.
“Most of these public buildings have a high energy requirement during the day [unlike many homes]So this is the best place to go to use solar because it gets used to it. “
The report also found that Gladstone Hospital could produce enough solar energy to power 173 households.
Jason Lyddieth of the Australian Conservation Foundation said the amount of solar energy capacity could prevent 152,000 tons of climate pollution – as much as not burning 1.3 million tons of coal would save.
“We have plenty of roof space that can be converted into power plants,” said Lyddieth.
„“[It] underlines the tremendous opportunity for the state government to increase the supply of clean, inexpensive electricity to meet the daily energy needs of schools, hospitals and other important services.
The report found that implementing the plan would create jobs – an estimated 844 years of employment in the solar systems business.