The PV systems at the new Parkes Water and Sewage Treatment Plants have been energised, with solar energy now being used to power both sites.

Council contractors, Autonomous Energy have installed 100 kilowatts (kW) of solar panels at its new Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) site and another 100 kW at the new Water Treatment Plant (WTP) site to offset the energy consumption of the two plants.

Parkes Shire Council's Director Infrastructure, Andrew Francis said "the roll out of solar power systems at these sites is part of Council's Distributed Energy Plan that was developed in 2011 to mitigate both potential climate change impacts and significant rises in power costs for Council."

"The PV systems at the two major project sites will together produce approximately 612 megawatt hours (MWh) per year, which equates to the typical combined annual usage of 115 homes."

Council is now looking into further solar power opportunities at other water infrastructure sites, as well as battery storage and virtual net metering options to improve utilisation and cost-effectiveness of its solar generation capacity.

In the early phase of the Distributed Energy Plan Council installed over 200 kW of PV (Solar) across its assets, immediately making significant impacts on power consumption and energy costs for Council.

There was significant community interest in this project and as a result in 2013 Council coordinated the Parkes Shire Solar Communities program that led to in excess of 300 households installing rooftop solar at highly competitive prices. This saw the Parkes Shire area becoming one of the highest per capita adopters of roof top solar in the state.