Queensland Rail is responsible for over 6600km of track across Queensland and facilitates over 40 million passenger trips (pre-COVID-19) on the Southeast Queensland network. As a large energy user, and to meet its sustainability and environmental goals, Queensland Rail is committed to decarbonising its activities by actively pursuing renewable solutions.
Solar with demonstrated performance and reliability was a practical and cost-effective solution to address several high energy use sites with confidence, and in 2021, Queensland Rail engaged commercial solar company, Planet Ark Power to provide solar systems at three key locations -the Corinda Depot, Sunshine Integrated Material and Logistics, and Gracemere Tilt Train Maintenance facilities.
The Planet Ark Power team rose to meet every challenge to deliver all three systems within the agreed project timeframe. At the outset, Queensland Rail and Planet Ark Power identified several potential sites for solar. Following a comprehensive survey of the locations, and consideration of roof construction and orientation, site accessibility, energy profile and estimated financial and environmental returns, three sites were chosen.
The three sites had distinct installation requirements including the need to work around and minimise disturbance to site operations, and contractor compliance with QR’s stringent safety requirements and the Rail Industry Worker program. In addition, Planet Ark Power engineers and electricians participated in dedicated training to work in a ‘live’ environment, and a team was deployed to Central Queensland for the installation at the regional tilt train service hub near Rockhampton.
Planet Ark Power through an iterative process was able to optimise the solar design and unlock additional cost savings at the three sites identified.
2 x 100kW solar PV systems and 1 x 66kW were the result. These systems are designed to offset as much as 45% site electricity demand, with excess solar energy exported to the electricity grid further improving the financial return for the project. To ensure optimum performance, each site features web-based monitoring with 4G connectivity for real-time monitoring and historic reporting of solar performance.
eleXsys Trial Stage
The solar systems will be optimised by the implementation of the eleXsys Energy Management Controller to address solar power curtailment, harmonics, and power quality issues. The system has been designed to be “battery ready” and subject to further feasibility assessment, the eleXsys and battery storage may also be used for back-up power, peak demand management and maximising solar self-consumption.
Completed in September 2021, Planet Ark Power installed 266kW of solar at their metro depots in Corinda and Geebung, and at the Gracemere tilt train maintenance facilities in central Queensland.
Queensland Rail is committed to increasing its reliance on renewable energy, as a portion of its overall energy demand, in line with the Queensland Government’s climate transition targets. The Planet Ark Power solar solutions are helping to meet 45% of their energy use at the Corinda, Geebung and Gracemere facilities. The systems are currently exceeding the predicted modelling and are estimated to prevent 334 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.
334 tonnes CO2e Savings p.a.
266 kW System Capacity
45% Annual Savings
Reduction in power cost