The City of Sydney makes solar panels a priority on its own buildings, reports Brendan Gallagher.

With a parched hot summer predicted to dry up the memories of the last two wet years, the City of Sydney Council is set to the roll out of 12,000 square metres of solar panels across 30 Council owned buildings.

The project is part of the Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan, which aims to source 30 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

The roll-out will begin with Sydney Park pavilion and the solar panels are set to adorn some of the area’s most historic buildings.

According to Allan Jones, the Council’s Chief Development Officer, surplus power from the solar panels will be redistributed to other City buildings using the trigeneration local electricity trading system, reducing the cost of reducing carbon pollution by a further 50 per cent.

Solar panels increasingly destined to adorn city buildings. Photo: Gert Stobbe

The Lord Mayor, Clover Moore says  the solar panels will help reduce the need to spend billions of dollars on new coal-fired power stations.

“The installation of solar across the City’s buildings is an important step in reaching our environmental goals,” she says. “These solar panels produce no pollution when generating electricity, unlike coal-fired power, which is responsible for 80 per cent of the city’s carbon pollution.”

However, Liberal Councillor Edward Mandla has expressed concern over the value-for-money of the project.

“We would all like to have solar panels on our houses,” he says. “It all comes down to the return on investment.”

Cr Mandla says if the time to recoup the money spent stretches beyond seven years, as technology advances, Council would be better of waiting and looking at it later down the track.

“It is totally appropriate that Council put solar panels in its buildings if it makes commercial and financial sense,” he says.