Federal Labor has made an election pledge of $5 million to create a rooftop solar farm at the Bundoora campus of La Trobe University in Victoria.

La Trobe University welcomed the pledge by the Federal Member for Cooper, Ged Kearney, and the Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Mark Butler. The pledge would fast-track plans for La Trobe to become Victoria’s first zero-emissions University.

The commitment would fast-track the installation of 6,775 solar panels installed on 27 buildings across the campus starting later this year. This is the equivalent of more than 17 kilometres of panels laid end to end – the distance between La Trobe’s Bundoora and Melbourne CBD campuses – or enough solar panels to cover the entire turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

La Trobe University’s Roof top solar project plan

The solar array would be the equivalent of more than 400 home solar systems. At the peak of solar efficiency the panels will supply up to half of the campus’ daily power usage.

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar, welcomed the Labor election announcement, which he said would accelerate progress on the University’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2029.

“La Trobe recognises the social, environmental and economic importance of reducing our carbon footprint. That’s why we have set an ambitious target to become the first University in Victoria to meet this important goal.

“We’ve already been quietly making substantial progress; almost 3000 solar panels have been installed on rooftops at regional campuses in Shepparton, Bendigo and Albury Wodonga, and are already reducing emissions.

“We’ve got a clear plan for action and we are making genuine, local changes to the way we operate to become more efficient and switch to renewables.

The University currently has a series of sustainability programs already in place and is in the advanced stages of developing a suite of new initiatives, including: waste reductions, energy efficiency programs, research and technology innovations and green star building designs.    

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