What would it take to put solar panels on the MCG? | RenewEconomy

What would it take to put solar panels on the MCG?

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ARENA is seeking to build large-scale solar panel arrays across Australia, and the Victorian Government could partner to put solar panels on the MCG.

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It’s easy to pick out the MCG on the Melbourne skyline. As well as being a great place to watch the footy, the MCG is a symbol of our city’s identity as the home of AFL.

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In the cities of the future, our iconic buildings and institutions will be powered by renewable energy. Powering iconic buildings with renewables not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but it sends a strong signal to people about the value of renewables. It inspires people and shows them how it can be done.

Right now, an important opportunity has just opened up with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announcing a $100 million solar photovoltaics competitive round. ARENA is seeking to build large-scale solar panel arrays across Australia, and the Victorian Government could partner to put solar panels on some of our most iconic buildings, such as the MCG.

MCG is currently undergoing an $8 million energy efficiency upgrade, which is predicted to cut its CO2 emissions by 20 per cent and massively cut costs. So why stop there? By putting solar panels on the MCG, we’d be able to show we’re serious about renewable energy in Victoria, reduce energy bills, and inspire footy fans around the country. 4 in 5 Victorians, many of whom are footy-mad like me, want more renewable energy. The Richmond Football Club on Punt Road has solar panels, so why not the spiritual home of AFL?

While our Federal Government is intent on destroying the renewable energy industry, ARENA is one of the few clean energy projects that remains. It was set up through an agreement between the Greens and the Gillard Labor Government and has successfully invested in projects from development through to commercialisation stage. We should jump on this opportunity while it still exists.

ARENA’s large-scale solar initiative follows a similar principle to the ACT’s reverse auction, where companies bid each other down to build solar at the lowest price. By partnering with ARENA to deliver a reverse-auction for projects that will specifically power Victoria, our state could leverage federal funds for solar projects right here at home, whether they be on the MCG or in other locations that are lower cost. We’d increase the power of our dollar and the scale of investment by combining our money with federal funds.

The ACT’s innovative reverse auction scheme has been hugely successful. It’s already got windfarm projects off the ground in SA and here in Victoria at Ararat. The security created by the government’s agreement to purchase power over time makes these projects financially viable.

Given our current dependence on highly polluting brown coal, Victoria has an extra responsibility to proactively develop renewable energy alternatives. I have been advocating for a Victorian Renewable Energy Target as a simple and effective way to build renewables, and to replace our dirtiest coal power plants like Hazelwood to reduce pollution and reduce oversupply so more renewable energy is able to enter the market.

I’ll keep pushing for these solutions, but in the short-term, working with ARENA presents a unique opportunity to bring more solar to Victoria – whether it be on the MCG or elsewhere – but the Andrews Government needs to act fast. The program is set to roll out in the coming months, and a joint agreement would need to be reached soon before all the money has been allocated to other projects.

Come September, the only thing better than seeing Richmond win under the lights at the MCG would be knowing that those same lights were powered by solar energy.

Ellen Sandell is the Greens MP  for the seat of Melbourne in the state of Victoria.

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6 Comments
  1. Warwick Johnston 5 years ago

    uhhhh, there are already solar panels on the MCG. Sure, there could be a lot more… but if you take a look at the vertical facade of the members’ stand, you’ll see some that were put there before 2006.

  2. mick 5 years ago

    why not put a few somewhere people might go to- homebush lang park etc lol

    • JonathanMaddox 5 years ago

      You don’t need to go to the MCG to see what’s on its roof, nor to use electricity from there.

  3. dogdog666 5 years ago

    First lets see the mcg prove they can significantly reduce energy the place is an absolute joke I have never seen so many useless down lights and lights left on when the place is empty. No point wasting money on solar panels is you cant manage the power you are already using.

    • sendai 5 years ago

      They’re likely doing that, “MCG is currently undergoing an $8 million energy efficiency upgrade.”

      • dogdog666 5 years ago

        Yeah lets see the results of that upgrade before we offer up any funding. Need to understand what they currently use, what they are using once the works are complete and then finally what can solar panels offer.

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