Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New research shines light on economic impacts and success of Alice Solar City project

New research has revealed that Alice Springs has benefited from a $100 million injection into its economy in the last five years through the Alice Solar City project.

The research is one of two studies released today by Alice Solar City which also reveal the impacts on the town’s carbon footprint, the social and tourism impacts, and the high level of support (90%) for the project to continue into the future.

Alice Solar City General Manager Sam Latz says that the reports demonstrate the enthusiasm the community has had for solar technologies and energy efficiency.

“As we move towards the end of Alice Solar City in its current form, these findings are invaluable when looking at models for what could come next.”

The first study, a review of the Alice Solar City project was undertaken by Charles Darwin University as part of a memorandum of understanding with the university.

“The research highlights that the project has been successful in its design and operation, with its design considered to be best practice and ‘worthy of emulation’ and its operation targets being exceeded”, says Sam Latz

“Its impact on energy awareness and conservation has been substantial, and we are particularly pleased to see the impacts on the community spirit and profile of Alice Springs.”

Key results from the study include:

• Over 4,300 tonnes of greenhouse gas savings are being made each year from the installations supported by Alice Solar City – equivalent to the emissions generated from electricity consumption by 730 typical Alice Springs homes.

• Solar and energy efficiency improvements to homes are now being recognised by the Alice Springs real estate market as expected features for home buyers

• Increased labour productivity of energy efficiency suppliers and installers has led to a degree of skills specialisation; a valuable asset in a town with skilled labour shortages

• Alice Springs homeowners have spent $9.86 million on energy efficiency measures

• A positive contribution to the ‘brand value’ of Alice Springs as an attractive tourist destination, with most visitors noticing the presence of solar and being very interested

• A positive contribution to the community spirit of the town with 20% of the population participating; the contribution to emerging debate about sustainability issues and the project’s influence on organisations such as the Alice Springs Town Council to become more active in environmental issues

The second study, a telephone survey of Alice Springs residents revealed 90% of people thought there was benefit in a similar service being offered into the future, 78% thought Alice Solar City to be an important to very important initiative for the town and over 90% were satisfied with the services they had received through the project.

Sam Latz said, “Both studies made suggestions for improvements and alternative models for Alice Solar City to continue into the future and the Consortium is currently looking at ways to make this happen”.

The full research documents can be found at