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City council triples green scheme

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Small businesses, office buildings and schools in Adelaide’s CBD will for the first time be eligible for subsidies on solar power and other green technologies after Adelaide City Council voted to triple its environmental incentives scheme last night.

Since 2008, an annual $50,000 incentives scheme has allowed city residents to claim council subsidies on solar panels, solar hot water systems and rainwater tanks.

Last night, the council voted to increase funding to the Sustainable City Incentives Scheme to $150,000 a year, expand eligibility to include businesses, office buildings and schools and broaden the number of green technologies available to be subsidised.

Area councillor and former Greens media adviser Robert Simms told InDaily that “traditionally, businesses have been less likely to take-up solar than residents, yet they are more significant carbon emitters”.

“By making this scheme available to businesses and involving schools and office buildings, there’s an opportunity for us to really make even more progress with bringing down emissions and get closer towards carbon neutrality,” Simms said.

“We know that there are less solar photovoltaic installations in the CBD than in the broader metropolitan area.

“These changes (will) encourage green innovation and really strengthen Adelaide’s status as a leader in sustainable business and technology.

“Battery based energy storage for instance, is a new and emerging area and it’s great to see council recognising that potential and getting ahead of the pack.”

Adelaide City Council’s program manager for city sustainability and park lands Adrian Stokes said residents produced just six per cent of the city’s carbon emissions, and expanding the scheme to businesses, office blocks and schools would significantly improve the city’s chances of reducing its carbon footprint.

“By picking up the rest of the community, we’re really getting serious about targeting the major sources of carbon emissions in the city,” he said.

From next month, the scheme will offer new subsidies for solar power battery storage and electric car charging stations and energy monitors, and expand subsidies on LED lighting, solar hot water, rain water tanks.

Stokes said the council was likely the first government organisation in the country to offer subsidies solar power battery storage.

The bolstered scheme will be paid for using the council’s Climate Change Action Initiatives Fund.

Stokes said more money was now available in the fund because longer-term green upgrades to the Adelaide Aquatic Centre, paid for out of the fund, were winding up.

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