Exploring Mandatory Solar Panels

solar panelsMany of us would have read recently of the move by Nedlands Council in Western Australia to introduce mandatory solar panels into their Town Planning Scheme and although the move still faces much opposition it is worth looking at the Scheme to see if it is in any way applicable to our LGA.

With new urban renewal developments and other large scale residential sites coming on line it would be an important move to see how we can improve the take up of solar panels and other urban renewable technologies in our new building stock.

Renewables are designed to work together and they are one prong of a concerted scheme to make our cities more sustainable and self- sufficient into the future. We should be encouraging all these renewal and development sites to invest in solar and other renewable technologies now at the planning and early development stages of their creation.

The City Of Sydney is one of Australia’s leading innovative cities and it is incumbent on us to lead the way in these sorts of initiatives. How many of the upcoming renewal areas such as Harold Park and the Ashmore Estate have committed to putting sustainable numbers of solar panels on their rooves?

Yet these are perfect examples of how we can take our city into the 21st Century by means of our Planning system or through an incentive scheme that makes this sort of development highly desirable.

In a country with the natural resources of sun and wind that Australia has it is tragic that we are not being more forceful in how we encourage developers to embrace the future and the savings to be had from renewables.

Currently there are five towns in the New England area competing to be the state’s first zero net energy town (ZNET) and perhaps the first in the country. ZNET towns are becoming common in Europe and are the way of the future in an era of inevitably dwindling fossil resources.

My Notice of Motion on this issue does not call on Council to make any mandatory claims for solar panels but it does encourage us to look into what we can do to increase the take up of solar technology in our new developments.

We are creating large scale developments which could be a game changer on the path to a self -sustainable future for our city and I believe it is worth looking at the work done by Nedlands Council to their Town Planning Scheme Amendments to see how this could influence our own encouragement of solar technology in the City.

I acknowledge all the work the City does to improve our sustainability and innovation and hope that this might be one more way of moving the city forward to a world class renewable city.

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