Manning Entertainment Centre goes solar

Energy from the sun: The 90-panel solar system on the roof of the Manning Entertainment Centre. Photo: Scott Calvin.

Energy from the sun: The 90-panel solar system on the roof of the Manning Entertainment Centre. Photo: Scott Calvin.

The team at the Manning Entertainment Centre is well-known for delivering terrific on-stage energy, but behind-the-scenes has been working hard to reduce its energy consumption.

A new 25kW solar system has been installed on the theatre’s roof to deliver economic benefits and a reduction in carbon emissions.

As one of Australia’s leading performing arts and entertainment centres, last month named as a finalist in the 2016 Drover Awards, the Manning Entertainment Centre is a constant buzz of activity. 

Until recently its ‘lights, cameras, action’ consumed an average of around 307kW of electricity every day, about the same amount as 20 average households.   

But the installation of the 90-panel solar system now delivers around one third of its power needs, resulting in savings of more than $7000 every year.

“This is a fantastic example of our environmental levy delivering positive outcomes for the community, not only through cost savings, but improving our environmental efficiencies,” said team leader Environmental Services (Taree office) Tanya Cross.

The sustainable use of non-renewable resources is a priority of the Environmental Action Plan.

“We’ve proactively looked at ways to reduce electricity consumption and associated carbon emissions, and the ongoing costs associated with the running of our facilities,” she said.

The MEC’s solar project was funded through a combination of $40,000 from council’s environmental levy (which applies to the former Greater Taree area) and a $20,000 rebate from the Australian Government through their Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.  

The project will deliver a great return on this investment with the cost of the system being paid back in less than six years (based on the current cost of electricity). 

It will sit alongside other energy saving measures recently undertaken by the MEC team, including the installation of an energy efficient air conditioning system, the replacement of electric hot water systems with heat pumps, and upgrading the stage lights to LED technology.

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