La Trobe Uni to build Victoria’s largest urban solar farm

Aerial photo of a large solar farm with an access road through the middle (darwin)
Image: iStock

La Trobe University has announced it plans to build the largest urban solar farm in Victoria, with around 4,300 solar panels generating enough renewable energy to reduce total university emissions by 15% and eliminate household emissions for the equivalent of the entire neighbouring suburb of Kingsbury.

The La Trobe University Renewable Zone is being built on 3.5ha at its Bundoora Campus and is part of the university’s goal to achieve Net Zero by 2029.

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The zone includes a 2.9MW solar energy system and 2.5MW battery energy storage system, which will take the total solar generation at the Bundoora campus to 5.8MW.

Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said the $10 million Renewable Zone, fully funded by La Trobe using funds from the recently raised Green Bond, was the next step in La Trobe’s commitment to being an industry leader in sustainability.

“Our commitment to Net Zero by 2029 will see our University City of the Future become a leading energy and water efficient city, using renewable technologies to support local climate resilience and positive environmental impact,” Professor Dewar said.

“The Renewable Zone is a vital step in this journey. Universities are perfectly placed to not just research ways to reduce emissions and develop renewable energy technologies, but to be change leaders in implementing innovative solutions.”

The Renewable Zone will be located on vacant unused university land on the corner of Plenty Road and Kingsbury Drive.

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As part of the project and the University’s commitment to sustainability, more than 40,000 plants and more than 600 trees will be planted to improve the biodiversity of the site, with a focus on locally indigenous plants sourced from the La Trobe Nangak Tamboree Wildlife Sanctuary.

Construction is due to begin in early 2024.

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