The well-to-do western Perth suburb of Nedlands could be about to receive a solar boost, after the city’s council voted to make it compulsory for home builders and renovators to install a minimum of 1.5kW of rooftop solar or other renewable on-site energy generation.
The motion to make the unprecedented amendment to local government legislation was moved by Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins last Tuesday, and carried with a majority of six votes to five.
The law decrees that “All new development and at Council’s discretion, substantial additions to existing development, shall provide on-site power generation by solar, wind or other means.
“For new residential dwellings, a rooftop solar or other on-site energy system of a minimum capacity of 1.5kW must be installed. For non-residential developments with a value exceeding $1 million, the size of compulsory additional on-site energy capacity will determined by Council ‘with due regard to roof area and height’.”
As the close result of the council vote suggests, there was some opposition to the new rule, with one Councillor describing it as an act of “socialism.”
“If they (residents) want to go ahead and put a solar panel or something on their homes, that’s their business,’’ Nedlands Cr Ian Argyle reportedly said. “Why do they have to be taking instruction from the government?”
But Mayor Hipkins called on wealthy landowners in the riverside suburb to “show leadership” in embracing renewable energy, arguing that the cost was on par with what the average Nedlands homeowner would spend on a dining-room table.