In a first for Australia, a council has voted to make on-site clean power generation on all new homes and some commercial buildings compulsory.
The City of Nedlands in Perth has led the way in turning more of the vast ocean of under-utilised rooftops in Australia’s towns and cities into power generators.
In the minutes (PDF) of a council meeting held on 23 September 2014, it states:
“All new development and at Council’s discretion, substantial additions to existing development shall provide on – site power generation by solar, wind or other means, approved by Council as follows:
i. For each residential dwelling – a minimum capacity of 1.5kW; and
ii. For each non – residential development with a value exceeding $1 million – capacity determined by Council with due regard to roof area and height.”
The City of Nedlands is located 7km from Perth, Western Australia; where a population of over 21,000 live in the suburbs of Nedlands, Dalkeith, Mt Claremont, Swanbourne, Karrakatta, and parts of Floreat and Shenton Park.
In July, Mayor Max Hipkins said more needed to be done in making Australia’s towns and cities more sustainable.
“Sustainability is now core business for all levels of government – a necessity, not an option. National governments are often slow to take up new ideas, so cities – and mayors – need to show leadership in sustainability and response to climate change.”
Mayor Hipkins is a qualified town planner and architect. He has also completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in Public Administration from the Western Australian Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Washington.
One of the earlier adopters of home solar power, in 2007 Mayor Hipkins designed his home on passive solar principles and installed a 3.6 kW solar power system. At that time, the system cost $35,000; but today, a good quality 3.5kW solar panel system fully installed in Nedlands can cost as little as $6,500.