Sun to help power Gold Coast’s Sand Bypass System at The Spit

A PILOT solar-powered, renewable energy system will be used to help power the Gold Coast’s Seaway Sand Bypass System, reducing carbon emissions and driving down operational costs.

Work is underway to design a 100-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array to power the Sand Bypass System at The Spit.

The Sand Bypass System transports 500,000 cubic metres of sand from The Spit to South Stradbroke Island each year, helping to keep the Gold Coast Seaway safe and navigable for recreational and commercial vessels.


The current system consumes about 1.5 megawatts of electricity when fully operational, or enough energy to power about 200 homes.

The new 100-kilowatt solar-powered system, which will be sufficient to power about 12 homes, is expected to slash the yearly electricity bill by $24,000.

Installation is expected to start in April and be finished by the end of June this year.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the project complemented the state government’s commitment to renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions.

“The Sand Bypass System supports the sustainable operation of our waterways, but it requires a significant amount of energy to ensure the waterways remain accessible and safe,” Mr Bailey said.

‘‘This 100-kilowatt, solar-powered system will produce enough energy to meet the day-time needs of the Sand Bypass System, helping to reduce the annual electricity bill by $24,000.”

CEO Hal Morris said the project reinforces the Gold Coast Waterways Authority’s commitment to sustainability.

‘We’re running this as a pilot program to help us improve our understanding of the solar output potential of the area, the impact of the coastal environment on solar systems and the Sand Bypass System’s energy load profile,” Mr Morris said.

“We’ll then use this information to determine if the system can be expanded to further reduce our operating costs and our carbon footprint in future.”

The Gold Coast Waterways Authority is investing $350,000 in the pilot project and has awarded the contract to design, install and maintain the pilot solar system to local company, SAE Group.

Based at Tweed Heads, SAE Group has undertaken commercial solar installations for the Port of Brisbane, schools involved in the Solar Schools program and numerous businesses in northern New South Wales.

“SAE Group are incredibly excited to power the Seaway Sand Bypass project with solar energy,” said Managing Director, Glen Ashton.

“The seaway is such an integral part of life on the Gold Coast, and what better way to demonstrate our commitment to a sustainable future than to reduce carbon emissions on one of our greatest natural assets.”