From trash to treasure | Landfill turned into solar farm

City of Newcastle Summerhill Waste Management Centre has become a renewable energy hub with a 5MW solar farm built alongside a 2.2 MW landfill gas generator and small wind turbine.

Together with 10 solar installations on the rooftops of the council’s public buildings, energy-efficient LED lighting, electric-vehicle chargers and cycling infrastructure, the solar farm will generate savings by reducing the council’s reliance on fossil fuels.

It will also help Newcastle fulfil its Cities Power Partnership pledge to reduce its climate impact, while paving the way for future battery storage and electric garbage trucks.

The solar farm is making good use of a capped landfill site that was once part of the Wallsend Borehole Colliery. The solar farm was commissioned in 2019 and is expected to supply more than half the council’s annual energy needs. It has also supported the City of Newcastle’s move as the first Council in NSW to go 100 per cent renewable for all its electricity needs.

The 14,500-panel solar farm is expected to generate close to 7GWh a year and reduce council’s carbon emissions by more than 6,400 tonnes annually.