The study, conducted by Monash University, used advanced modelling techniques to map sunlight across the Australian city, concluding that solar panels could generate around 2,354 gigawatt hours each year, equivalent to three quarters of the required power.
The study, led Professor Jacek Jasieniak, is among the first to investigate how window-integrated photovoltaics could be used alongside more traditional solar-capture technologies in meaningful numbers. Should a successful trial go ahead, it could provide a framework for any cities lucky enough to have regular sunshine.
Australia in general has huge potential for generating a large portion of it’s renewable energy target from solar power. Cities like Melbourne provide a perfect place to do this as the energy generated can be directly used to power the city. Remotely located solar farms have a massive inefficiency problem which is highlighted by Professor Jasieniak. Around one fifth of electricity generated from solar is wasted sending it through miles of cabling to reach its destination.
Despite the obvious upsides to such an installation, one of the roadblocks comes from the fact that many of the buildings in Melbourne's CBD are rented. This creates issues when it comes to cost, as developers would not see an immediate return on installing costly solar technology.
"There's no clear responsibility on who is mandated to actually put in photovoltaics. There's a massive policy challenge here," Jasieniak explained
Despite the obvious challenges with such a task the research will be warmly met by climate enthusiasts across the country. Like many other nations, Australia has put out plans to achieve net-zero by which is highly ambitious considering 75% of the nation's energy comes from coal.
Scott Morrison’s coalition party released their roadmap to reach these lofty heights by 2050 on Friday the 12th of November under the name ‘The Australian Way’.
Emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor said: “The modelling shows that a clear focus on driving down technology costs will enable Australia to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 without putting industries, regions or jobs at risk.”
The enthusiasm is not shared by all however, with Tim Baxter, a senior researcher at The Climate Council giving the damning verdict that the roadmap “may as well have been written in crayon”
“The most striking thing about this modelling is that it predicts the government won’t reach its own net zero by 2050 goal.
“This is pure spin. A document that has the singular purpose of attempting to legitimise the federal government’s do-nothing approach,” he said.
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