Solar park goes public

BALLARAT will move one step closer to becoming Victoria's renewable energy capital today, with the official unveiling of the city's solar park.Boasting 1780 solar panels, the 300kW Ballarat Solar Park, located near the airport, is one of just two Victorian trial sites in the Commonwealth Government's $42 million Central Victoria Solar City project.The site in Bendigo opened last week.Ballarat Solar Park project manager Michael McCartney said construction began in July and today's official opening marked the project finishing ahead of schedule and on budget.He said city residents would today have the opportunity to tour the facilities with the people who constructed it and to sign up as Ballarat's first consumers of clean, green energy ."There won't be too many full open days after this one that give the opportunity to have people on site," he said.Mr McCartney said there were "too many variables" to pinpoint exactly how many homes the park had the potential to power but said they could take 150 registrations from homeowners who wished to sign up ."The key concept we work on is it is the equivalent of 150 households having a 2kW panel on their roof," he said.He said the average size of solar panels installed on homes across Australia was 1kW.Mr McCartney said aside from offering the opportunity to learn more about the park itself, today's opening ceremony would also provide information on energy efficiency and selecting solar hot-water systems and solar panels.Guided tours of Ballarat Solar Park will be available today between 12.30pm and 3pm. For more information, go to