Renewable energy revolution hits the shops in Toowoomba

Toowoomba’s Grand Central is joining Queensland’s renewable energy revolution, with work underway installing more than 2400 solar panels on the centre’s rooftop.

Energy Minister Anthony Lynham, in Toowoomba today to inspect works, said the panels would generate almost 1MW of electricity.

“Queensland has an economic strategy for recovery from the pandemic, and it includes supporting jobs in emerging industries like renewable energy,” Lynham said.

“Our renewable energy revolution has already seen 40 large-scale projects operational, under construction or financially committed over the past five years, representing more than 6000 jobs, including four in the Toowoomba region.

“These projects are generating jobs and business, putting downward pressure on power prices and cutting emissions.

“And with the government’s new renewable energy zone initiative for the Darling Downs and South West, we expect to see many more large-scale renewable energy projects across this region.”

Publicly-owned Yurika is installing the panels for QIC at Grand Central and three other Queensland shopping centres – Domain Central in Townsville, Hyperdome at Logan, and Robina Town Centre at the Gold Coast.

Work started late July with up to 15 workers on site daily. The project will be completed by the end of the year, with power kicking in by the end of October.

Grand Central operations manager Simon Wilkinson said the solar technology would bring clean energy to Grand Central and provide significant relief to the energy network in the surrounding Toowoomba community.

“We are looking forward to being able to access reliable, clean energy whenever it is needed.  This new technology will reduce Grand Central’s carbon emissions by 1028 metric tonnes of CO2 every year, which is the equivalent of removing 234 passenger vehicles from the road each year.”

Yurika acting executive general manager of Carly Irving said Yurika’s Smart Connected Solar brought together solar panels and 24/7 monitoring technology with the ability to add batteries and additional renewable options such as electric vehicle charging stations.

“This partnership is about both lowering the cost of energy and improving the environmental performance of large shopping centres,” she said.

“Yurika is delivering the latest renewable ‘smart’ technology which brings greater financial savings and improved carbon emissions.”

Grand Central will remain open as usual throughout the works.