Will Australia Legislate Solar Rooftops for Commercial Buildings?

Australia is the world’s sunniest continent, yet local businesses have been slow to embrace solar energy. Figures published in April 2015 found just 41,760 Australian businesses installed solar power in the last year, compared to 142,190 local residential properties. With local firms reluctant to utilise Australia’s sunny conditions, will the Federal Government follow France’s lead and introduce compulsory solar panel legislation to green the nation’s business sector?

What is the New Legislation in France?

In March 2015, France declared the rooftops of all new buildings in the nation’s commercial zones must be partially or completely covered in solar panels or plants. Local environmental activists hoped the law would insist on 100 percent green roofs for commercial and residential buildings, but even this partial measure will have a significant impact on France’s carbon emissions.

What could it do for Commercial Construction in Australia?

Environmental experts predict Australia’s commercial districts will continue to lag in rooftop solar uptake unless legislation forces change. If Australia followed France’s lead, new businesses would be required to employ rooftop solar solutions. Established businesses, not wanting to lag behind the competition, may also be encouraged to install solar power. Australia has a “completely untapped market for solar systems on commercial buildings,” according to Kylie Catchpole, associate professor of solar engineering at the Australian National University. A variety of mitigating circumstances; including the political landscape, market pressures and community sentiment mean that commercial projects have been slow to embrace rooftop solar independently. A change in legislation may be the trigger to change building attitudes.

Could it Work Here?

Federal and state government rebates have helped more than 2.6 million Australians utilise the sun’s energy to power their homes. With government legislation proving an effective incentive for homeowners, there’s no reason to suggest legal action wouldn’t impact the uptake of solar power for new and existing businesses across the country. As responsible commercial builders, TPM Builders are conscious of the impact commercial construction endeavours have on the local environment, and make every effort to incorporate solar power and other sustainable initiatives into its designs. Contact TPM Builders on 1300 733 891 to discover how your next commercial construction project could be made greener. ©Image via Flickr by Schlusselbein2007