Warwick Solar Farm will make UQ the world's first major university to offset 100 per cent of its electricity.
The University of Queensland (UQ) is constructing a 64 Megawatt (MW) solar farm in Warwick, Queensland. Once finished the project will allow UQ to become the first university in the world to offset 100 per cent of its electricity requirements from its own renewable energy assets.
The UQ Warwick Solar Farm will come online in early 2020 with more than 200 000 panels generating over 150 000 megawatt hours in its first year – enough to power an estimated 27 000 homes.
Emanating from the desire to own its renewable assets and offset 100 per cent of its electricity usage, UQ initially commissioned Aurecon, to undertake a pre-feasibility study into what would be required to achieve this ambitious sustainability goal.
Having established the feasibility of the concept, the partnership continued to co-create the Warwick Solar Farm solution, with Aurecon advising the University on the design, the construction tendering process and physical build.
The driver for UQ to consider increasing its usage of renewable energy came after the University saw energy prices double in less than five years. The solar farm adds to the University’s existing renewable assets of a 3.3 MW solar farm at the Gatton campus, and over 3 MW of solar systems distributed across the rooftops of the University’s buildings.
While being focused on realising UQ’s vision, from early concept through to construction, Aurecon has the responsibility for ensuring that the project is a meaningful investment in creating a self-sufficient sustainable energy future for the University.
Situated south-west of Brisbane, Aurecon is providing a regular presence on the Warwick Solar Farm site during the construction period. The team provides project management services and coordinated technical engineering reviews from the company’s Brisbane office, with support from subject matter experts in other international offices, leveraging Aurecon’s global knowledge base.
UQ is committed to be a leader in sustainability and build on its existing strengths in the renewable energy sector. As well as becoming a centrepiece of the University’s education and research into renewables for its undergraduate and postgraduate students across a range of academic disciplines, the Warwick Solar Farm will also bring economic benefits to regional Queensland. An information centre is planned for the public and visiting research and industry associations.
Not only will the Warwick Solar Farm generate renewable energy, it represents another huge step in the transformation of Australia’s energy sector. Aurecon is proud to be playing a significant role in developing a solar farm that will have such a positive environmental, social and economic impact.