Ergon Energy Solar has undertaken a successful experiment that changed the way of thinking of Magnetic Island residents. The Magnetic Island solar experiment began in 2007 and was just recently concluded with positive results. This initiative was taken as a part of the Ergon Energy Townsville Queensland Solar City Project.
Through a range of projects carried out on Magnetic Island, Ergon Energy Solar was able to produce quantifiable results such as:
- Reduced peak demand and electricity usage
- Reduced greenhouse emissions in the area
- Saved customers money through the installation of Magnetic Island Solar structures
- Deferred investments in augmenting the electricity supply network
The project involved the installation of innovative technology in small households and large scale applications. Ergon Energy Solar installed energy-efficient products and solar photovoltaic system on pre-selected residential and commercial buildings. Some of the installations include private homes in Riverway and Serene Valley and an Ergon Energy Townsville CBD commercial building.
The experiment was also included other methods of conserving energy as well as an extensive effort to educate the residents of Magnetic Island. All in all, the project required the installation of 500 photovoltaic systems, 2500 smart meters, an all-inclusive demand-side control and management program consisting of 1700 energy audits as well as detailed monitoring of all aspects of the experiment.
The goal of the Magnetic Island Solar project is to provide a working model of how solar energy and management of energy supplies can benefit the local economy and the local environment. As the results have shown, the Ergon Energy Solar Townsville trial is a resounding success.
At the initial launching of the trial, Ergon Energy Solar officials were very confident that the project will significantly lower the greenhouse emissions at the Townsville region. They envisioned that if the project is successful, people will be more attracted to the place to live and to work. Now that the results of the Magnetic Island Solar project are out, this vision will surely come to reality.
Authorities have estimated that with this Solar Cities project, the reduction in greenhouse emissions will be about 50,000 tons. That will be the equivalent of around 1,700 cars being taken off the road.
In terms of actual results, the experiment showed that energy consumption in the area was reduced by 1.6% compared to what was consumed last year. When this is translated to actual figures, this is about $1,784 million savings to customers.
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The maximum energy demand from the grid was reduced by 10.5% based on the peak demand in 2008 to 2009. When compared to the Solar City Business Case annual maximum demand in 2011 to 2012, the reduction was 19% more than the target.
There are other positive results which proved that the solar trial on Magnetic Island was indeed a success. Now Ergon Energy is on the path to convincing the rest of the residents to switch to solar panels as a more economical and eco-friendly alternative to the traditional fossil-fuel generated electrical supply.