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USQ is taking action to offset its energy requirements with the construction of overhead solar panelling over one of the University’s largest carparks on its Toowoomba campus.

The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) is set to significantly reduce its carbon footprint and electricity costs when work begins on the integration of a campus wide Sustainable Energy Solution across its Toowoomba, Springfield and Ipswich campuses.

With an increasing demand for electricity the University is taking action to offset its energy requirements with the construction of overhead solar panelling over one of the University’s largest carparks on its Toowoomba campus.

Producing 1.9 megawatts of electricity the first stage of USQ’s Sustainable Energy Solution will also see roof mounted solar panelling collectors and battery storage systems installed across its Toowoomba campus buildings.

The completed project will help the University significantly reduce its electricity costs and cut down on its daytime grid electricity consumption as well as significantly lowering USQ’s total carbon emissions in the order of 20 percent.

USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas said the University annually generates a carbon footprint of around 16 000 tonnes of carbon across its three campuses, with purchased electricity accounting for approximately 88 percent of these emissions.

“With a capital cost in excess of $6 million, the solar solution project will be rolled out in three stages with final work completed by the end of next year,” Professor Thomas said.

“Site works on the car park collectors will begin next week while subsequent stages in 2017 will involve the installation of roof mounted solar panels across several buildings at USQ’s Toowoomba, Springfield and Ipswich campuses.

“More than 4000 solar panels will be installed above our largest Toowoomba campus carpark covering an area about the size of four football fields.

“The energy generated over the course of the year will be enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 320 households.”

Professor Thomas said the solar solution project demonstrated USQ’s commitment to its social responsibilities, carbon reduction initiatives and to improving the environmental performance of the University across every aspect of its operations.

“With an increasing demand for electricity it’s important to consider how USQ can continue to undertake and expand its current operations without growing its dependency on traditional electricity supplies,” she said.

Professor Thomas said that USQ had established a comprehensive green strategy to minimise its environmental impact by considering how its carbon emissions, energy, water and waste can be better managed.

“Not only will the solar solution deliver a measurable reduction in energy related costs for the University but it will also provide a significant platform for research, learning and teaching with students and staff able to study the proficiencies of the renewable energy network against load variations and supply demands,” she said.

“Building and construction projects will demand more efficient use of resources and energy supplies and this project is another way USQ will be able to provide its graduates with skills and knowledge that they can take into industry.”

Professor Thomas said that going green not only improved the health of the environment but also contributed to the wellbeing of all those who were part of the University community.

“As a socially and environmentally responsible organisation at USQ we’re actively investing in a clean energy future,” she said.

To learn more about USQ's Sustainable Energy Solution, please click here.