Solar eclipses coal at Summerhill centre | Jeremy Bath

SHINING ON: A solar farm is proposed for Summerhill Waste Management Centre

SHINING ON: A solar farm is proposed for Summerhill Waste Management Centre

I'm delighted to report that a proposed 5MW solar farm at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre will increase Newcastle City Council's renewable energy generation capacity tenfold. 

The solar farm will cover the area of about five football fields on a capped landfill site that was once part of the Wallsend Borehole Colliery.

Made up of about 16,000 photovoltaic solar arrays, it will help reduce the city's $4m annual electricity costs after the yearly bill doubled in the past two years. 

The project will also help council achieve its 30 per cent renewable energy target - under its 2020 Carbon and Water Management Action Plan - and follows recent climate action pledges made as part of the Cities Power Partnership.

With energy costs soaring and the cost of solar photovoltaic technology falling, the business case is now clear for councils to increase their renewable energy use and take control of their energy costs.

We are seeing a boom in construction of solar farms across Australia and local councils will be one of the key beneficiaries from the experience the solar sector has developed.

It's also important for our community that we build sustainability into the way we do things, which is why we have moved quickly to increase our renewable energy capability and find smarter, more energy-efficient solutions for our city's needs.

Jeremy Bath is interim CEO of Newcastle City Council