ACT launches community solar panel project, as biggest emitters named  

Residents in Canberra previously unable to take advantage of solar power have a new opportunity with the announcement of a community based solar feed-in tariff (FiT) program. Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell, announced this morning that residents would be able to invest in solar generation and enjoy an on-going income stream.

“Around one in 10 Canberra households already have rooftop solar, however this new initiative will be accessible to renters and people living in flats and apartments who previously missed out on the benefits of solar,” Mr Corbell said.

“The FiT provided for under the initiative will be up to 20 cents per kilowatt hour for 20 years, slightly higher than the nation leading price achieved by successful proponents in the Government’s successful large-scale Solar Auction conducted in 2012-13. This rate will help community groups develop innovative community outcomes.”

A capacity release falling under the Electricity Feed-in (Large-scale Renewable Energy Generation) Act 2011 capped at 1 megawatt will be created under the scheme. This is roughly the equivalent of 500 rooftop solar power systems (or the total amount of solar power systems installed by Solar Sunwerx for the whole of last year).

The community solar project will likely be made up of a combination of rooftop solar panels and stand alone solar farms, with potential sites already being negotiated by the Minister. “Eighty-one per cent of Canberrans surveyed in 2013 wanted this government to show leadership when tackling climate change; this initiative will assist the community to take ownership of building a stronger, sustainable Canberra,” said Corbell.

Meanwhile three energy companies have been revealed as the biggest emitters of CO2 for the 2012-2013 period. Macquarie Generation topped the tables with AGL Energy Limited and Delta Electricity filling out the top three, just ahead of mining company Rio Tinto in forth place.

The total emissions is reached by combining Scope 1 (emissions created by assets owned by the company) and Scope 2 (emissions created by consuming electricity from the grid) figures. The numbers prove conclusively that the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions are electricity utilities and the most direct path to cutting CO2 emission levels lies with renewable energy sources.