Adelaide is often at the cutting edge of progressive technology and reform, like Tindo, the world’s first solar electric bus.
At a time when many countries in the world are taking steps to address climate change, Adelaide, yet again, finds itself at the forefront of encouraging technological innovation and implementation, as it embraces the transition to a low carbon economy. In an Australian first, Adelaide City businesses, residents, schools and community organisations are eligible for an incentive of up to $5,000 for installing energy storage (batteries), as part of an expanded Sustainable City Incentives Scheme endorsed by Adelaide City Council. The Sustainable City Incentives Scheme provides: • Up to $5,000 for installing solar PV • Up to $5,000 for installing energy storage • Up to $500 per electric vehicle charging system • Up to $5,000 for apartment building energy e fficiency upgrades • Up to $1,000 for changing out quartz halogen downlights to LED downlights. This Scheme is available to all building owners and tenants in the City of Adelaide, including: businesses; residents; schools; community and sporting organisations; for works completed from July 1, 2015. Adelaide City Council has been working on reducing its own carbon emissions by 60% and, since 2009/10, has reduced total energy use by 15.5% and saved more than $800k per annum on electricity costs. “Between 2007 and 2013, the city’s community has reduced its carbon emissions by 19 percent, and this wonderful achievement has been made possible by early and widespread adoption of emerging technologies in energy efficiency and renewable energy,” says Lord Mayor Martin Haese. Many Adelaideans are singing the praises of the scheme, which is inspiring change in the Council area’s office buildings, apartment blocks, and retail centres, as well as including city residents such as Marjon and Greg Martin. “We have always tried to live a lifestyle which has a minimum impact on the environment,” said Marjon. “Our property had the fi rst installation in Adelaide of AllGrid’s 10kW battery storage system and the rebate was a great help. It meant a big reduction in the initial cost of the system and definitely encouraged us to invest in battery storage.” “We hope our lead will encourage other Adelaide City Council residents to investigate and ultimately invest in battery storage. In SA we need new industries and the field of sustainability is the obvious choice. Council support is an important component of improving sustainability.” Though the battery was only recently installed, the Martins are already seeing the benefit through their electricity bills. “The first quarterly bill we received, after the battery had only been installed for one month, was reduced by about one third compared with last year’s bill for the same quarter.” Elke Obermeier firmly believes in the environmental and economic benefits for green energy, and for many years has been urging other Adelaide residents to install solar panels and take advantage of the rebates available. In the particularly overcast part of Germany where she comes from, “almost every building now has a solar panel system working very productively, with a fraction of find it extremely difficult to believe that Australians, who have this free resource in such abundance, are not making a lot more use of it for their benefit,” she said. Elke has been pressing for more to adopt green energy, including apartment building dwellers. “I had been trying my hardest to convince them, but initially met an incredible amount of resistance.” When the Federal Government cut funding to renewable energy programs, and the price of implementing changes subsequently increased, the project’s future looked pretty bleak. Fortunately, she says “the Adelaide City Council is still focused on green energy. They still want to encourage people in the city to be carbon neutral.” Elke, who has since successfully project managed the implementation of a solar panel system to an apartment building, confirmed that the generous incentive from ACC played an important part in getting the project finished. It reduced the payback period, and therefore, got more owners on board. Many businesses across the city have taken advantage of the rebate too. Finance Mutual Australia (FMA), located on King William Street, used the program to contribute towards installing 108 solar panels on the roof of its building, and has also commenced the process of switching to LED lights. “It has been very worthwhile,” said Vanessa Leone, Executive Assistant to the Managing Director of FMA. “Getting the Council rebate was simple. We filled out the City Council application form, attached the required documentation, and then received a cheque within four weeks of submitting the documents. Through the changes we have made, we expect to save somewhere in the order of $15k to $18k annually.” People may have already seen the effects of the rebate in action across Adelaide’s retail stores and not even realised it. Adelaide Hatters, located in Adelaide Arcade, is the largest specialty hat shop in Australia. Manager Tess Bartsch has overseen the store changing from halogen lighting to LED with the help of the scheme. Tess’s motivation was around “updating the aesthetics of the store by improving the way the goods are displayed, as well as reducing electricity usage and costs”. “I have noticed real savings which I can definitely relate back to energy efficiency. I can keep the displays lit from morning to night now, without worrying about the costs, either environmentally or to the bottom line,” she enthused. “The rebate was very helpful, and motivated us to put into place changes that we otherwise would have had to wait to make.” Further information about the Sustainable City Incentives Scheme can be found at http://www.adelaidecitycouncil.com/your-council/funding/sustainable-city-incentives-scheme or telephone 8203 7203 to discuss potential projects, funding availability, and eligibility with a member of the Sustainability Policy team. This article was presented by the Adelaide City Council.