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Australia going green with second solar city

by David Masters
March 14, 2008

Alice Springs, in the Australian outback, has been awarded the status of Australia’s second “Solar City”.

The conversion to solar will cost a total of $37 million and will take six years to complete. It follows Adelaide’s launch as a solar city in October, and is part of Australia’s attempt to reduce carbon emissions by trialling eco-friendly energy options.

Alice Springs, which on average gets nine hours of sun every day, will now be saving 10,000 kilowatt hours in electricity, equivalent to 12,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

The trial includes over 200 houses and business being fitted with photovoltaic systems. Over 1,000 homes have had solar hot water systems installed, whilst 400 homes have been fitted with smart meters to encourage reductions in energy use.

The scheme was launched by Australia’s environment minister, Peter Garrett. He said at the launch: “Alice Springs is a unique example of how the Australian Government’s Solar Cities programme is learning more about the needs of a remote community in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“We’ll be collecting vital data through installing solar photovoltaic panels on homes and
businesses, rolling out solar hot water systems and smart meters and providing solar installations for iconic sites around Alice Springs.”

Incorporated within the launch was the official opening of the Alice Solar City Smart Living Centre, where residents are now able to get advice on reducing energy use.

Garrett said of the centre: “This is what Solar Cities is all about – helping families and businesses take action on climate change and seeing what works best so that we can roll it out to the rest of the nation.”

Other cities to be included in the solar cities programme include Central Victoria, Blacktown, Townsville, Coburg and Perth.

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