Central Victoria Solar City program deemed a success17th Oct 2011
The past 12 months have seen a wealth of progress according to the newly-released The Central Victoria Solar City (CVSC) program executive summary for 2010-11.
During this period, 528 participants benefited from the residential solar PV program, with an additional 1,780 home energy assessments being conducted in the region.
The initiative saw 14 local governments unite with households, businesses and communities in order to make the switch to clean, renewable energy.
One particular arm of the scheme saw 20 businesses take part in an energy assessment, with organisers saying that those involved achieved 'an increased sense of control' when it came to bringing about more effective energy consumption.
The establishment of the Bendigo and Ballarat Solar Parks are also a key component of the Solar Cities program.
According to the report: "Both parks located in Bendigo and Ballarat produced more energy than originally estimated.
"Community appetite for community-owned medium scale solar parks has remained very high in the first year of the parks' operations."
CSCV says that it has received a great deal of interest from other communities looking to set up solar parks of their own.
They believe that the two parks have proven the ability of these kinds of operations to cater for the needs of residents, saying : "Bendigo and Ballarat Solar Parks provide a sound basis for the viability of community-owned medium-scale solar when considering the generation capability of the parks."
Other aspects of the program included the 100% Renewable Communities initiative, which engaged locals and raised awareness of economic energy consumption practices.
CSCV utilised volunteers to help everyday Australians trial new technology and behaviour, bringing about a change in attitude as well as a reduction in electricity wastage.
Solar Cities is a program run by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and is designed to help Australians implement sustainable energy technology.
According to the program's official website, the government aims to use the trials as the basis for future energy infrastructure planning.
In addition to Central Victoria, seven cities have taken part so far, including Adelaide, Blacktown, Townsville, Moreland, Perth and Alice Springs.
Data collected from these regions will assist in developing policies and educational programs centred on investing in solar power systems.
The government intends to increase awareness of solar power, in addition to passing on this knowledge to energy companies who may wish to factor clean energy technology into their services.
Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar Correspondent