Installing solar panels on the roofs of public buildings in five Queensland local government areas could produce enough electricity to power 44,000 homes, new research finds.
Public buildings in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Logan and Gladstone have a total of 727,574 square metres – or 45 football fields’ worth – of rooftop solar potential.
The research, commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation, shows this solar capacity could prevent 152,000 tonnes of climate pollution – as much as would be saved by not burning 1.3 million tonnes of coal.
“This research highlights the huge opportunity the state government has to increase the supply of clean, low-cost electricity to meet the daily energy needs of schools, hospitals and other essential services,” said Jason Lyddieth from the Australian Conservation Foundation.
“Installing solar on public schools, hospitals, prisons, libraries, fire stations and other public buildings creates jobs and makes the sunshine state part of the climate change solution.
“Queensland can and should be a renewable energy superpower. With more than 38% of Queensland homes now generating their own solar energy, the state leads Australia and the world with residential solar coverage.
“This research shows there remains huge potential to generate more clean power – and jobs – by putting solar systems on more public buildings.
“If public buildings in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Logan and Gladstone have 45 football fields worth of rooftops that are suitable for solar, just imagine how much potential there is across the state.
“We call on Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deb Frecklington to commit the next Queensland government to going big with solar on public buildings.”
The research was conducted by the School of Photovoltaic & Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) at the University of New South Wales and the Australian PV Institute (APVI).
A separate report commissioned by ACF found renewable energy projects could deliver more than a third of Queensland’s electricity by 2025.
Recent polling shows almost three quarters of voters support an economic recovery plan that creates jobs in climate solutions.