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Milestone for magnetic solar suburb

Minister for Mines and Energy
The Honourable Geoff Wilson
Thursday, May 08, 2008


The first residential solar system in the Townsville: Queensland Solar City project has been installed on a home on Magnetic Island, Minister for Mines and Energy Geoff Wilson said today.
Minister Wilson today inspected the photovoltaic (PV) solar system, the first in a major roll out of solar systems that will transform Magnetic Island into a solar suburb.
The Townsville: Queensland Solar City consortium will receive up to $15 million from the State Government and its government-owned corporation Ergon Energy, and $15 million through the Federal Government’s Solar Cities initiative.
“Part of the State Government’s contribution has helped fund the Nelly Bay Ferry Terminal’s solar PV system.
“This is an iconic project. It shows how communities can harness solar energy and be more energy-efficient in their daily lives,” Mr Wilson said.
Minister Wilson said the solar suburb would save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 50,000 tonnes over the next seven years.
“That’s equivalent to taking 1700 cars off the road for the same period,” Mr Wilson said.
“These days, we’re all conscious of the importance of caring for our environment and the use of renewable energy such as solar power, is a responsible and efficient way to go about it.
“People who live and work on Magnetic Island will be helping to create a blueprint for future sustainable energy use,” he said.
As part of the trial, Magnetic Island residents and business owners have been invited by project leaders Ergon Energy to host up to 500 PV solar panels - at no personal cost.
More than 500 residents and businesses returned an energy use survey and are now registered for a free energy assessment and the opportunity to host solar PV systems on their roof.
Anyone interested in hosting a system can contact the local Solar City team in the Nelly Bay Information Centre to arrange for an energy assessment to find out if their roof is suitable.
Ergon Energy’s Executive General Manger Corporate Sustainability and Innovation, Jim Chisholm, said the solar PV system would be installed, owned and serviced by Ergon Energy for the duration of the project, unless the host decided not to continue with the arrangement.
To further measure the impact of the trial on the island’s electricity consumption, up to 1700 households and business owners will receive smart meters and in-house displays which will give detailed information about the amount of electricity used and the cost.
“Magnetic Islanders’ enthusiasm for the project could not have been better,” Mr Chisholm said.
“As well as the outstanding response to our survey, we’ve had an enormous amount of positive feedback on every aspect of the project,” he said.
Minister Wilson said Solar Cities was about the community working in partnership with government to help save energy and money.
“I’m delighted that so many people are keen to learn how to conserve energy and save money on their electricity bills.
“The level of interest in what’s being done right here on Magnetic Island is commendable,” he said.
“The community has climbed on board to such an extent, our all-important environmental and energy conservation goals are well and truly on track,” Mr Wilson said.

Media Inquiries:
Ellen McIntyre 3225 1819 (for Minister for Mines and Energy Geoff Wilson)
or
Ergon Energy's Solar City Community Engagement Manager Julie Heath 0408 862 520

Ergon EnergyTownsville City CouncilDelfinHoneycombesCafaloQueensland Government