Looks like this year about 600 homes in Townsville will be going to solar power in an Australian wide test to “demonstrate how solar power, smart meters, energy efficiency and new approaches to electricity pricing could combine to provide a sustainable energy future.”
When I first read this my first thought was “Where do I sign up?”, but we would not be eligible. The government has decided that the homes being selected for the test would be located on Magnetic Island, just off the coast of Townsville.
The idea to use Magnetic Island as a test bed makes a lot of sense. They are isolated and a small community that is already using solar power in a big way with solar hot water. Although Townsville has only about 5% of homes using solar hot water systems, Magnetic Island has significantly more homes on a solar hot water system. This is because most of Magnetic Island residents are long term residence, where as Townsville is known for it’s “transient population”. The savings found in using solar usually comes in about the 5th year of ownership, so it is a long term investment.
During the seven year period of the “Solar City Project” they reckon greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by 50,000 tonnes, which is the same as pulling 1700 cars off the road.
Not a bad return for putting a few solar panels on your roof …