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2015: The year to watch

The start to 2015 has seen more developments in the solar energy sector, both internationally and locally.

The government of a northern state in India, Haryana, announced late last year that it would make solar power systems mandatory for all buildings equal to or larger than 418m2. A solar power system of a minimum 1kW of solar panels must be installed by September 2015; with the total kW dependent on the purpose of the building.

Some Australian local councils are also supportive of this innovative approach to energy generation. Nedlands city council, in Perth, is applying to the WA Planning Commission to request a mandatory installation scheme. This scheme, if approved, would require the installation of a renewable energy power system on all new homes built within the council boundaries. These could be either solar panels or wind power.

The mayor of Nedlands, Max Hipkins, believes that homeowners in the relatively wealthy suburb could afford it, as the price of a renewable energy power system is small when compared with the cost of building a half a million dollar home. These kinds of mandatory measures are controversial, but are they possibly the best way to encourage the faster uptake of renewable energy?

The recent announcement of a Queensland election will also impact Australia’s solar industry, according to the Australian Solar Council. Current Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is renowned for his anti-solar activity, despite Queensland being ranked as second in the country for its rate of domestic uptake of solar panels. In the past he has attempted to remove all existing clean energy programs and hit households utilising solar energy with higher electricity bills (a plan which was ruled out by the Queensland Competition Authority).

With many Queensland voters clearly supporting the use of solar energy in the Sunshine State, this could be the issue that decides the outcome of the election. John Grimes, CEO of the Australian Solar Council, believes that the Queensland election results can send a message to the Federal government that the Australian people support the RET and the use of solar power.

Source: Energy Matters, 6 January 2015, “Indian state makes solar mandatory”, accessed 8 January 2015.

Wynne, E, ABC, 10 December 2014, “Perth council to seek mandate on renewable energy for new homes” accessed 8 January 2015.

Energy Matters, 7 January 2015, “Will Premier Campbell Newman Reap The Solar Whirlwind?”, accessed 8 January 2015.

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The Author

Cassandra House

Cassandra has recently graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Environmental Science and Conservation Biology. She is interested in the development of the Australian renewable energy sector as a means of sustaining the environment for the future; and is passionate about educating the public and small business owners on their options. Other interests include reading, gardening and playing piano and guitar. She is passionate about caring for Australia’s wildlife and has volunteered in wildlife rescue and many other community groups. Currently she is learning about small business management whilst assisting with the administration duties of her partner’s business.

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