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Central Victoria Solar City energises community.

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Central Victoria is the location of the fifth successful Solar City in Australia, the Treasurer, Peter Costello, and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull announced today.

The Central Victorian Solar City consortium will receive up to $15 million in Australian Government funding to help change the way individuals, communities, businesses and governments think about and use energy.

Mr Costello said the Australian Government’s Solar Cities programme was an innovative way to bring together solar technologies, energy efficiency, smart metering and better electricity pricing to create more energy sustainable communities.

“Implementing a Solar City is a major undertaking for a community. It involves exploring different business partnerships, trialing new ways of supplying and using energy, and encouraging involvement and investment from business and the community,” Mr Costello said.

Mr Turnbull said the Central Victorian Solar Cities trial would establish two iconic 300 kilowatt solar parks featuring tilting solar walls that track the sun to increase the amount of energy delivered by the system.

“Participants in the trial in Ballarat and Bendigo will have a chance to ‘rent’ a portion of a solar park, use the energy it generates, and ultimately have the option to buy into the park,” Mr Turnbull said.

Victoria’s new Solar City will be based around thirteen municipalities, including Bendigo and Ballarat, with a consortium of local government, businesses and community organisations.

The consortium, consisting of Sustainable Regional Australia Pty Ltd, Bendigo Bank, Origin Energy, PowerCor, Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance, E3i Developments, Sustainability Victoria, University of Ballarat and the Central Victorian Area Consultative Committee will contribute an additional $26.8 million to the project.

Around 2500 households and more than 100 businesses, schools and community facilities will take part in the trial. Some 1200 residents will use smart meters, some with display panels, to better understand their energy use. Photovoltaic systems will be installed on 300 residences, and around 700 solar hot water systems will be installed.

In addition, 1500 household energy efficiency packages will be offered to residents to reduce their energy bills, and energy efficiency audits and advice will be provided to more than 70 businesses, 23 schools and 13 community facilities.

These measures are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 13,000 tonnes a year. This is equivalent to taking more than 3,200 cars off the road.

“I congratulate the Central Victorian community for embracing the Solar Cities concept. They are a welcome addition to Australia’s Solar Cities - Adelaide, Townsville, Blacktown and Alice Springs,” Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Mr MacFarlane said.

“Together Australia’s Solar Cities are expected to help more than a quarter of a million residents and businesses learn how to reduce their energy use and save money,” Mr Costello said.

The five solar cities will together install over 3,400 solar panels in buildings and homes; provide more than 15,000 smart meters to give residents real-time information about their energy use; install 4,100 solar hot water systems; conduct over 8,400 energy audits and issue 71,500 energy efficiency packs to households and businesses.

This will all help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 89,000 tonnes each year. This is equivalent to taking more than 22,000 cars off the road.

The results from these trials will also assist other communities in adapting to a future emissions trading system - by demonstrating how to implement energy efficient options that reduce both energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Solar Cities programme is part of the Australian Government’s $3.4 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 adapt to the impact of climate change.

For further information visit

BENDIGO 19 July 2007


Renae Stoikos - Treasurer’s Office -0418 568 434 Brad Burke - Minister Turnbull’s Office - 02 6277 7640 Claire Wilkinson - Minister’s Macfarlane’s Office -02 6277 7580

© Commonwealth of Australia 2000