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Australia’s first compulsory solar suburb

The new suburb of Denman Prospect in Canberra is being referred to as Australia’s first mandated solar community after its developers introduced a minimum solar requirement for each dwelling.

Each residence in the new development is required to have a three kilowatt system capable of generating approximately 4,146 kilowatt hours of energy each year, which equals about half of the energy used by an average Australian household. Denman Prospect, a suburb that will eventually contain around 4,000 dwellings, is located close to Canberra’s CBD and is bordered by the Molonglo River and the National Arboretum.

The new suburb of Denman Prospect is located close to Canberra's CBD, and is bordered by the Molonglo River and the National Arboretum.

The new suburb of Denman Prospect is located close to Canberra’s CBD, and is bordered by the Molonglo River and the National Arboretum.

Image: Capital Estate Developments

The suburb is also the first in Australia to make a commitment to the Homes for Homes initiative – an affordable and social housing scheme that encourages both developers and individual home owners to make a tax-deductible donation of 0.1 percent of the sale price of a property. A proportion of the proceeds from each land sale in Denman Prospect will go towards a fund for affordable housing started by not-for-profit social enterprise The Big Issue.

Capital Estate Developments managing director Stephen Byron said that the solar systems for the first 350 houses in the suburb have been purchased in bulk, which lowers the price for individual residents.

“The model we are providing is convenient, user-friendly and allows families to check their generation via an app over wi-fi,” he said.

“In terms of environmental benefits, every installation will be like taking a car off the road and it will reduce the carbon footprint of the entire suburb by about a third,” Byron claimed.

Although the development is believed to be the first new suburb where solar technology is mandatory for each dwelling, many other communities across Australia have already collectively embraced solar energy production.

Capital Estate Developments is behind Stage 1 of the project, and the first pieces of land were sold at auction on Saturday 17 October. Stage 2 and 3 of the suburb are still being developed by the Land Development Agency.

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