Solar gardens start to bud

No rooftop? No problem! Solar gardens may hold the answers. 

What’s up

You don’t have to go far to find some pretty amazing numbers for Australia’s solar rooftop revolution: over the course of 2017, an average of 9,500 panels were installed every day. The stats on small scale solar were up 41% on 2016. And one in five Aussie homes now has rooftop solar - a figure which equates to the highest penetration in the world.

What’s down

So we are moving in this great direction, but what about the many Australians who don’t have an opportunity to get involved in this change? One in three Aussies is currently unable to take advantage of the cheaper energy that comes with rooftop solar. This includes renters, apartment dwellers, people living in low income housing, and even those whose roofs might be facing the wrong way.

Drumroll please

Solar gardens – an increasingly popular solution overseas, could provide an answer. A trial led by the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) is testing the viability of ‘solar gardens’ as an accessible and affordable way to open up all the environmental and cost benefits of solar to all Australians.

Solar gardens work by installing a central solar farm, generally near a population centre, then providing an opportunity for energy customers to purchase panels in the solar farm. The electricity generated from their panel is then credited on the customer’s electricity bill.

The trial brings together energy retailers, councils, community energy agencies, a large social welfare organisation and the NSW Government to examine the viability of solar gardens across different Australian communities.

Eagerly awaiting the results!

Solar gardens are already working overseas, so participants in the Australian trial have a pretty good feeling that it’s going to work here too. After all, we’re all using the same energy supply!

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