Mildura Rural City Council is leading the way with its Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUA) program with 280 kilowatts of solar panels now installed on commercial and agricultural properties within the municipality.
Over 380 megawatt hours of electricity is being generated annually through the solar panels, preventing more than 390 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of taking 80 cars off the road.
An EUA is an agreement in which a financial institution advances funds to a commercial or agricultural property owner to undertake upgrade works which improve their building’s environmental performance.
These funds are then re-payed through the property owner’s Council rates.
Councillor for Environment and Farming Sustainability Anthony Cirillo said these results demonstrate that EUAs are a great way for commercial and agricultural property owners to do their part to combat climate change by minimising their carbon footprint through renewable energy solutions.
“We’re seeing the impacts of climate change in the record low rainfall and resulting drought that has hit our region,” Cr Cirillo said.
“Another implication of climate change is the impact it’s had on harvest times, bringing them forward.
“EUAs offer an affordable way for our commercial and agricultural property owners to do their part to combat climate change.”
Since the first EUA in Sunraysia was signed in April last year there have been six more projects across the retail, farming and accommodation sectors, representing over $300,000 in investment.
While EUAs are an effective way to combat climate change, they’re also a great way to save on energy costs.
In most cases, commercial and agriculture properties owners with EUAs are ahead within 12 months as the power cost savings generally cover loan repayments.
Examples of projects that could qualify for EUAs include lighting, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning upgrades, solar installations, and water and waste minimisation.
To be eligible for an EUA, building owners must pay Council rates, ensure the planned works are improvements to non-residential buildings, and deliver environmental benefits, such as energy, water and waste savings.
Mildura has been one of the most active areas in the state in terms of the take up of EUAs, sitting third behind only Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula Shire.