Waste, energy and water

In pictures: See the scale of solar power in Sydney

You know and love these Sydney buildings, but we’ll bet you didn’t know they are generating solar power on their roofs.

  • Rooftop panels at Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool

    If you took a stroll through Sydney, you may not notice all the solar panels popping up. But they’re multiplying at an amazing rate. In October 2018 alone, more than 21,000 small-scale systems were installed on the rooftops across Australia – that’s enough to power a small town like Orange.

    Lots of City of Sydney-owned buildings – our pools, libraries or community centres – have solar on the roof. It’s part of our plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool has 85 rooftop solar panels.

  • Heritage meets green tech at Sydney Town Hall

    Heritage is no barrier to solar power, provided that certain conditions are met. In 2010, when we installed 240 solar panels on the roof of Sydney Town Hall, we had to commission special brackets that wouldn’t damage the roof. It turned out they were cheaper than regular brackets, which meant we could add extra solar panels. #winning

  • Community power at ICC Sydney

    Major pieces of infrastructure are also getting into the solar action. The new International Convention Centre Sydney in Darling Harbour is home to the first community-funded solar energy project of its kind in Australia where the solar panels are actually owned by members of the general public. It is one of the largest installations of solar panels in any Australian CBD.

  • Sporting solar at Redfern Oval

    We’re working toward a tenfold increase in solar output by 2030. And with the technology getting better every year, it’s increasingly possible. The 211 panels we added to Redfern Oval in 2013 now generate the equivalent of about 20 houses’ worth of power each year.

  • An aerial view of Sydney Markets

    Sydney Markets at Flemington has gone solar on a pretty impressive scale. They flicked the switch in March 2018 on 8,594 panels – the largest solar installation in Australia at the time of installation. Sydney Markets is now running on 11% renewable energy, which is equal to powering 1110 houses.

  • An education in solar at UNSW Sydney

    At the Tyree Energy Technologies Building at UNSW Sydney, solar panels do more than power the building: they’re used by students to test research and development in areas like photovoltaic technologies, sustainable clean fuels, smart grids and energy storage. These solar panels are a few of many on the campus which together provide a total of 772 kilowatts of solar power.

    Like us, UNSW is working toward 100% renewables. They’ve struck up a deal with a developer and a retailer to have 100% of their power supplied by solar.

  • A powerful result at Australia Post

    You’d never know from walking past, but the 1000+ solar panels on the roof of the Australia Post building on Cleveland Street generate enough power to cover 30% of the building’s common areas. Pretty impressive.

  • Surry Hills Library’s hidden green credentials

    Surry Hills Library and Community Centre was the first of our libraries to benefit from solar power. 32 panels were included when it was built in 2009. It might not sound like much, but rooftop solar is just part of the puzzle in this environmental superstar. The much-loved indoor plants actually play a role in cooling and filtering the air, reducing the need for artificial cooling by 50%.

    Here’s how it works: air is drawn in at the top of the atrium and passed through special plants acting as ‘passive’ filters. The air then flows under the building where its temperature is conditioned by a thermal labyrinth - a series of high thermal-mass rock baskets. From here, the filtered and cooled air flows throughout the different levels of the building.

  • Solar meets battery power at our new depot

    Alexandra Canal Depot is the crown jewel in the City’s suite of green power. The site not only has 1663 solar panels, it also features the first Tesla Powerpack battery installed and operational in Sydney.

    The battery can store up to 500 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to meet the daily needs of around 50 homes and equivalent to the storage capacity of 50,000 mobile phone batteries.

What's next?

If you’re keen to take action on renewables, we’ve gathered the knowledge and tools to help you on your way.

CitySwitch has a range of resources for small and medium-sized enterprises and office-based businesses.

Residents can play their part too. See our simple step-by-step guide to green power whether you rent, or own a house or apartment.

Published 21 January 2019