One of Victoria’s major tourist destinations, Sovereign Hill in the goldfields region of Ballarat, is now mining the sun, with the installation of a 75.4kW solar PV system on the roof of its Gold Museum.
The 290 panel installation was launched by Victoria’s energy and climate minister Lily D’Ambrosio on Monday, as part of the state government’s goal to reach 25 per cent renewable energy by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.
The installation is expected to generate enough electricity to power the museum and feed excess electricity back into the grid.
Speaking at the launch, D’ambrosia said the project has not only reduced the museum’s carbon footprint, but also spoke of “a changing attitude (to renewables) within the broader private sector.”
“Congratulations to Sovereign Hill for their leadership and the example they are setting for the rest of the business community,” D’Ambrosio said.
Ballarat is already doing pretty well on that front, however, with local businesses like the Mid-City Motel embracing solar and energy efficient technology. According to Energy Matters, there are around 2,191 solar power systems in Ballarat, totaling 7190.86 kW of capacity. The major regional city is also home to the world’s first rooftop solar thermal air-conditioning system, developed by CSIRO and funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
The Labor Andrews government, meanwhile, has added to its ambitious renewable energy targets with the launch of its Take2 Climate Change pledge, which aims for zero emissions by 2050.
Last month, it re-instated the Greener Government Buildings program, a $33 million theme to retrofit energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling technologies in government buildings across the state.
The scheme will also replace all freeway lighting with efficient and long-lasting LED technology, while a $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund has been established to provide grants for innovative projects that support a clean energy future.
A Victorian Energy Efficient Target has also been established, encouraging investment, employment and innovation in industries that supply energy efficiency goods and services.