Alice Springs solar up and running The first photovoltaic (PV) solar electricity system to be installed as part of the Alice Solar City project is converting sunshine into clean electricity for an Alice Springs family.
With the assistance of a significant Alice Solar City financial incentive, a two kilowatt solar electricity system has been installed by BP Solar on the roof of Michael and Alison Kain’s family home. The PV solar electricity system can supply all of a household’s power if needed, with any excess electricity sold back to the local power grid at a premium.
“They will be able to sell all the solar electricity they generate back to Power and Water Corporation at 45 cents per kilowatt hour, which is more than double the cost of purchasing electricity from the grid. The buyback rate is currently the highest rate offered in Australia,” said Alice Solar City General Manager Brian Elmer.
Power and Water Corporation is working with the Alice Solar City Project. In addition to accessing the elevated buyback tariff, all residents who install a rooftop solar electricity system will automatically be provided with a smart meter and be placed on a cost-reflective tariff. These tariffs encourage people to use power in off-peak periods and with smart meters, residents can track their energy use throughout the day.Article continues below…
The Alice Solar City project is part of the Australian Government’s $37 million Solar Cities initiative. As part of the project, 225 residential solar electricity systems and 26 commercial solar electricity systems will be installed and connected to the Alice Springs local power grid over the next six years.
Townsville fast following suit The first residential PV solar system in the Townsville: Queensland Solar City project has been installed on a Magnetic Island home. It is the first in a major roll out of solar systems that will transform the island into a solar suburb.
Minister for Mines and Energy Geoff Wilson said the solar suburb would save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 50,000 tonnes over the next seven years – equivalent to taking 1,700 cars off the road for the same period.
To further measure the impact of the trial on the island’s electricity consumption, up to 1,700 households and business owners will receive smart meters and in-house displays which will give detailed information about the amount of electricity used and its cost. The Townsville project will receive up to $15 million in funding from the State Government and its government-owned corporation Ergon Energy, and $15 million through the Federal Government’s Solar Cities initiative.
As part of the project, Townsville City Council Sustainable Services and Delfin Townsville are developing plans for a solar energy display on the Gregory St headland. The display, designed to raise public awareness of the Solar City project and the benefits of solar energy, is part of the New Townsville City Council’s broad community educational Citisolar program. The educational facility will be located at the Gregory St amphitheatre and feature shade structures with fully functional solar panels linked to interactive and interpretive displays.
The council’s Environment and Sustainable Development Committee Chair Cr Vern Veitch said the display would complement the recent installation of a grid-connect solar panel system on the nearby Council-owned building which houses the C-Bar. “Interest in renewable energy is increasing rapidly in the community and I’m sure the solar energy display will be particularly effective in raising public awareness of the Solar City project and the benefits of solar energy,” he said.
Promoting energy efficiency in Coburg The sixth in the Solar Cities program will be developed in northern Melbourne suburb, Coburg, after the Federal Government announced that $4.9 million in funding will be contributed to the area.
The Coburg project will target low income households, renters and families with particular emphasis on increasing the energy efficiency of the disadvantaged, especially those living in community residential units.
A key feature of the Coburg Solar City will be the development of an Energy Hub – a community enterprise providing energy retrofit services for low income and public housing tenants. The hub will include a community-wide campaign to help households, businesses and community organisations to understand and reduce their carbon footprint. As well as smart meters, it will involve the installation of solar systems, discounts on energy efficient products and grants to install energy and water saving measures targeting community residential units, renters and families.
The Coburg project will also address a principal aim of the Solar Cities initiative – data collection. Coburg Solar City will include the installation of smart meters in homes to provide data on how energy use is influenced by external pressures, such as rising energy prices. Coburg joins Adelaide, Townsville, Blacktown, Alice Springs and Central Victoria as part of the $94 million Solar Cities initiative.