Melbourne council releases mapping tool to reveal huge potential of solar PV

The City of Melbourne’s untapped rooftop solar PV potential adds up to an area roughly the size of Hamilton Island, according to a new study and mapping tool launched by the council on Tuesday.
The study, aimed at encouraging residents and business owners to consider whether their roof could be used to cut their energy bills and help the environment, maps the potential for the city’s rooftops to go solar, green or cool.
Launched on Tuesday, the Rooftop Project uses aerial photographs of the city to better understand which of the municipality’s rooftops are best suited for solar panels, reflective materials, or vegetation.
As you can see in the map below – which depicts the city’s existing rooftop status – there is currently not a whole lot of any one of these kind of rooftops in Melbourne’s CBD.
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But according to the research, there is the untapped potential for 637 hectares of solar panels; 259 hectares of cool roofs; 236 hectares of intensive (heavy) green roofs; and 328 hectares of extensive (lightweight) green roofs. Below is the map that factors in the rooftop solar potential.
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“There is so much potential right above us,” said Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle in a statement.
“Rooftops in central Melbourne make up 880 hectares of space, which is more than five times the size of Melbourne’s largest park, Royal Park.
“Most of these rooftops are used only to store heating and cooling equipment. We could set them up to generate clean energy, increase property values and cool temperatures within the city.”
The mapping shows green or vegetated roofs are most suitable in built up areas such as the CBD, Port Melbourne, and Docklands; while larger commercial and industrial buildings outside the CBD have greater potential to store solar panels.
Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Councillor Arron Wood, wants residents and business owners to look at the maps and reconsider their roof’s potential.
“Our research shows that solar panels could be installed on 637 hectares of rooftops – that’s three times the size of the Hoddle Grid. These households and businesses could be making use of the sunlight that falls on their roofs by installing solar,” he said.
“We want to work with the community to help reduce power bills and increase employment within the renewable energy sector. Rooftop solar will play an important part in helping us to reach our target of
sourcing 25 per cent of the municipality’s electricity from renewable energy by 2018.”
The research shows that there is potential to create cool roofs on 259 hectares of rooftops across the municipality, which is the size of 86 MCGs. Cool roofs reduce the amount of heat held and transferred to the building below, keeping the building cooler and at a more constant temperature.
The City of Melbourne is also looking for partners to work collaboratively on the creation of the city’s first publically accessible green roof. Owners with suitable roofs are encouraged to contact the council.

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