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Townsville: Queensland Solar City
  Putting the Sun into Sustainable Townsville

Solar data

Townsville Solar Cities Community Day
Townsville Solar Cities Community Day

[ Update ]

The Solar Cities Program is a $94 million Australian Government funded visionary energy initiative bringing together industry, business, governments and communities to rethink the way they produce, use and save energy, now and in the future. The Ergon Energy-led consortium, including the Queensland Government and Townsville City Council are investing $15 million dollar for dollar in this world-class solar initiative.

[ The Solar Cities Programme - Sustainable Townsville - The Townsville Bid ]
[ Timeframes - Links - Documents - Solar Townsville - Video Transcript ]

Connecting People with Energy (850Kb .pdf)


Rebates and Incentives to make your home more sustainable

City Solar: Community Based Education & Involvement (CBEI)

Eco-education Tours & Learnscapes

Community Based Social Marketing (Dr. Doug-Mackenzie Moor)

Thematic Communication (Prof. Sam Ham, PhD)

Collective Social Learning (Emeritus Prof. Valerie Brown, PhD)

Sustainable Business Network (Environmental Products & Services)

Smart Lifestyle and Sustainability Expo

Learn about communicating sustainability
  Free community workshop Saturday 12th January 2008

Smart Home & Lifestyle - Sustainability Expo

  Tips to be energy wise (440Kb .pdf)
  Connecting People with Energy (850Kb .pdf)
26/9/2006 - Townsville Shines in Solar City win
19/3/2006 - Townsville Solar Cities Community Day
5/12/2005 - Townsville short-listed in the race to host the nation’s first Solar Cities. Media Release (44Kb .pdf)

Townsville: Queensland Solar City
Townsville: Queensland Solar City

Solar City Support
Townsville is one of Australia's sunniest cities
with over 300 days of sunshine per year

Solar Cities Programme

The Solar Cities Programme is a $75 million Federal Government initiative to implement distributed solar technology (including photovoltaic and solar thermal), energy efficiency, load management, smart meters and cost reflective pricing in large-scale grid-connected urban sites.

The Solar Cities Programme forms part of the Federal Government's long-term greenhouse response in the energy sector to move towards integrated use of low-emission supply technologies, distributed generation, significantly enhanced energy efficiency and markets that deliver responsive and effective wholesale price signals. The programme is expected to run from 2005 to 2012 - 2013 (the first Kyoto commitment period).

The Solar Cities programme has two objectives, to:

  • Demonstrate the economic and environmental impacts of integrating cost-reflective pricing with the concentrated uptake of solar, energy efficiency and smart metering technologies; and

  • Identify and implement options for addressing barriers to distributed solar generation, energy efficiency and electricity demand management for grid connected urban areas.

In particular, the solar Cities Program seeks to identify the potential opportunities associated with

  • Photovoltaics (solar panels that make electricity)
  • Energy meters (smart meters)
  • Solar Hot Water
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Demand Management
  • Peak management
  • Cost reflective pricing

Other Solar Cities projects might include

  • Climate Sensitive Design
  • Solar thermal electricity production

For successful Solar Cities projects, 50% of the cost will be paid by the Australian Greenhouse Office.

The Solar Cities Programme provides an opportunity to trial new sustainable models for electricity supply and use in at least four urban grid-connected areas across Australia. Adelaide has already been chosen as one of the trial cities.

The opportunity for other areas to apply for funding under the programme is based on a multi-phased competitive tender process running from early 2005 to late 2005.

A solar day during the 'wet' season - a high maximum level of energy is recorded (upto 1400 W/m2),  but clouds interupt the amout the solar insolation (the amount of energy hitting the ground).

A solar day during the 'wet' season - a high maximum level of energy is recorded (upto 1400 W/m2), but clouds interupt the amout the solar insolation (the amount of energy hitting the ground).

Townsville: Leading the way in sustainability

Townsville is a tropical City with over 300 days of sunshine per year; one of the highest of any Australian city. Townsville is a fast growing city and is recognising energy supply as one of the potential limits to growth. Simultaneously, greater attention is being paid to potential efficiencies in the supply and consumption of energy, particularly at the domestic and commercial level.

Solar energy and other forms of sustainable energy incorporated with demand side management are key aspects of a sustainable city. Recent initiatives such as the launch of the Strand Wind Project (as part of the Sustainable Townsville) and the Townsville Enterprise Energy Forum are creating increased interest in energy sustainability at the business and community level. This is complemented by increased educational activities focussing on sustainability at the school level.

For these reasons, Townsville is well positioned to be a leading Solar City, both nationally and internationally.

1 kW amorphous PV in the foreground, and 1 kW polycrystaline PV in the background
Amorphous and polycrystalline solar panels on the roof of
Townsville State High School's Technology, Maths & Science - Centre of Excellence

Townsville: Queensland Solar City

An Expression of Interest for a Townsville: Queensland Solar City consortium was lodged late July 2005 as the first phase of the tender process. The Townsville consortium was one of 11 short-listed cities invited to prepare a detailed business case, The Townsville: Queensland Solar City consortium was announced as a winning bid on 26 September 2006 (16Kb .pdf).

The Townsville: Queensland Solar City project is expected to commence in July 2007.

The Ergon Energy-led Townsville: Queensland Solar City project is made up of a consortium including Townsville City Council, Queensland Government Department of Mines and Energy, Delfin Lend Lease, Honeycombes Property Group and Cafalo Pty Ltd. Each consortium partner, as part of the Townsville project, has a discrete but complementary project element.

Townsville: Queensland Solar City project elements:

Council’s Citysolar programme is about involving the community in an energy-wise response to climate change.Council’s Citysolar programme will

Inform and educate the community about energy supply, use and conservation>> Demonstrate cutting-edge solar power technology and design in uor public urban buildings and spaces

Connect with schools and community groups to drive wide-scale community change

Tips to be energy wise (440Kb .pdf)

Townsville City Council has established strong credentials in the area of sustainable development, having already established a city-wide sustainability programme, Sustainable Townsville, and the establishment of a Sustainable Development Committee.

Townsville is well placed to becoming one of the world's leading sustainable cities, combining a large industrial base, leading educational establishments, a growing population, all alongside the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.

A perfect winter solar day in Townsville - the maximum energy recorded (800 W/m2) is less than that recorded during a summer day, but it is not interupted by cloud cover.

A perfect winter solar day in Townsville - the maximum energy recorded (800 W/m2) is less than that recorded during a summer day, but it is not interupted by cloud cover.

Next step

The Townsville: Queensland Solar City project is expected to commence in July 2007.

Townsville - the Sustainable Solar City - the Liveable City -
Getting to the Future First 


22 July 2005 - Submission of Completed Expression of Interest.

December 2005 - Shortlisted consortia announced - prepare Business Case.

April 2006 - Submission of detailed Business Case.

September 2006 - Townsville: Queensland Solar City announced as successful bid.

May 2007 - Funding agreement between Australian Greenhouse Office and Ergon Energy finalised.

July 2007 - Expected start date of Townsville: Queensland Solar City project.

Solar Cities Documents

Australian Greenhouse Office Solar Cities documents

Townsville City Council

News Articles

Solar Townsville

Information below demonstrates that Townsville is a very sunny city.

The measurement of solar energy is referred to as insolation. Insolation in measured using a number of ways.

For example, the Allunga Exposure Laboratory west of Townsville calculates that the average solar insolation (the amount of energy falling on the ground) in Townsville is 7,503 MJ/m2/yr

Demonstrating that Townsville is a very sunny city.
Image modifed from:

Townsville Sunshine Days - source Bureau of Meteorology
Data source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Solar Insolation Graphs for Townsville - 5 am to 7 pm

Data from a solar energy research project at James Cook University by Dr Harry Suehrcke has been graphed to demonstrate the varying solar insolation values over a typical year in Townsville.

Solar Insolation Graphs for Townsville - 5 am to 7 pm


Solar Insolation Graphs for Townsville - 5 am to 7 pm


Solar Cities Video Transcript

The Australia climate offers an abundance of renewable energy sources

With climate change a growing concern, we need to understand what opportunities exist now and what changes can be made for the future

Solar Cities is a visionary new Australian Government Initiative where solar power, energy efficiency and reform of our energy market will combined to provide a new clean energy future

This exciting $75 million program will establish at least three trial Solar Cities across Australia

Over the next 9 years Solar Cities will deliver through collaborative partnerships between Australian, State, Territory and Local Governments, Energy Industries and the Community of each City

Imagine if you will a community in the not too distant future where the whole city is working together toward a more sustainable future

Where consumers can make informed choices about how much energy they use

Where every citizen has an opportunity to implement change

Where smart-meters measure the amount and cost of electricity used

Encouraging consumers to use energy wisely

A City where consumers are rewarded through energy pricing for using solar technology and energy efficiency

In less than two decades our average demand for energy will double, increasing the need for infrastructure investment

Increased air-conditioning use on hot days can strain the electricity system and cause price hikes

A Solar City can reduce the load on the grid and provide a community structured electricity supply to compliment centralized power generation

Where the sun powers all houses

Where houses are fitted with insulation, solar paneling, solar hot-water heaters, double glazing and energy efficient lighting as standard inclusions

Where Schools, Business, Shopping Centers, Community and Industry Organisations become roles models for Sustainable Energy Practices

The Solar Cities initiative will assist Government, Industry and Communities to develop an integrated plan to realize this vision

It will help to establish new ways of providing and using energy and play an important role in addressing climate change

Townsville City Council Home PageCouncil's Environment Management Services