Solar City to Advance Renewable Energy Down Under

Australia’s first Solar City is hoping to set a precedent and pave the way for communities across the country to adopt more renewable energy resources and solar technologies.

The trial energy project will double the current capacity of photovoltaic (PV) panels in Southern Australia and provide energy savings of AUD $5 million [US$3.7 million] per year. The proposal aims to install PV panels on more than 1,700 homes in the northern part of Adelaide, roll out 7,000 “smart meters” and help residents save around AUD $200 [US$150] a year on electricity bills. Chosen last month out of 23 cities to host the trial project, Adelaide was congratulated by Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard for embracing the visionary concept. Consumers will be able to purchase the PV panels, made by BP Solar in Sydney and SLIVER cell technology from Origin Energy’s Adelaide plant, using discounted loans. The project also plans to help low-income and rental households in the community share in the benefits of the project through other cost-saving initiatives. The Adelaide Solar City consortium — Origin Energy, BP Solar, Big Switch Projects, City of Salisbury, Mawson Lakes Development and the ANZ Banking Group — will receive up to AUD $15 million [US$11.2 million] through the Australian Government’s $75 million [US$56.5 million] Solar Cities initiative. The consortium expects to raise an additional AUD $38 million [US$28.6 million] from industry and other partners. Solar Cities is part of the Australian Government’s $2 billion climate change strategy that aims to develop clean, low emission technologies; build an effective global response to the issue; increase understanding of climate change science; and help communities adopt renewable energy.
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