The Byron Bay Bluesfest is an iconic music festival in the heart of the Northern Rivers. This is a unique festival as the festival owners also own the site that the event is held on. The Bluesfest site is home to a 300acre Tea Tree farm and Koala conservation program, every year the festival team seeks new ways to expand and improve on environmental initiatives.
Bluesfest reached out to Smart in mid 2020 to understand how solar could be utilised to offset the electrical consumption of the onsite office, water pumps and additional loads during the festival. The 2 parties began outlining possible land that could be used for a ground mount system, however with the transient nature of a festival site it soon became apparent that this had to be a roof mounted system.
The sites office is made up of 3 demountables with conjoining colorbond roofing to create a central undercover area. There were existing leaks in the roof and this was identified early on. Smart’s project managers co-ordinated with the sites roofing contractor to quote and repair the problem areas, the costs were wrapped into the solar PPA. This was a collaborate effort to solve an ongoing problem once and for all.
A structural engineers report came back with limitation on where solar could be installed due to limited loads. Smart proposed a system which combined 60kW of traditional Trina 450W panels flush mounted on aluminium racking over the areas of roof with approved loads. The remaining 40kW was installed with Sunman lightweight solar panels which are fixed directly to the roof with epoxy.
The Sunman product weighs 6.6kg and has a lightweight frame. This allows for enough rigidity in the panel so it doesn’t sag or flex. Smart’s engineers worked closely with the Sunman team, resulting in one of the largest installs using the 350W Sunman panel.
The roof repairs and solar system were delivered with no upfront cost under a Solar Power Purchase Agreement. This enabled the customer to upgrade their site without using any upfront cash, the system generated electricity 50% cheaper than their contracted grid rate. The excess power generated during the festival's offseason sold back into the grid with the additional revenue being claimed by Bluesfest.