Photovoltaic panels are best known as a method for generating electric power by using solar cells, this power can then be used to run equipment or to recharge batteries. Water heating is the most cost effective means of utilising solar energy.
The Manawaroa Street depot in the Esplande was the first Council building fitted with the solar panels. 26 panels, each producing 5kws, were erected. It was hoped that alongside energy efficient lighting and power systems in place, the power generated from the panels should equal the amount of power the building uses, making the building a 'zero energy' facility. Between March and December 2013 the depot building used 4,550kWh, and in that time exported 3,270kWh back to the grid - representing about 72% of the electricity imported to site being sent back to the grid.
Following that Council installed solar water heaters on the Civic Administration Building, City Library, Albert Street Depot and the Ladies Rest public toilets in The Square.