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Giant Panda at Adelaide Zoo
Giant Panda Fu Ni at Adelaide Zoo | Image by Adrian Mann, Zoos SA
Home » Carbon Neutral Adelaide – community action counts

Carbon Neutral Adelaide – community action counts

Making Adelaide the world’s first carbon neutral city is a grand goal requiring support across the broader City of Adelaide community. Whether you’re an individual resident or a city-based organisation, if you want to be part of the movement, Council can help.

Sustainability Incentives Scheme

The City of Adelaide, with support from the State Government, provides financial reimbursements to city residents and businesses to encourage their investment in technology to help them take back control of their energy costs and cut energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and water use.

Rebates through Council’s Sustainability Incentives Scheme are available for products like solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, energy (battery) storage systems, LED lighting upgrades, energy monitoring systems, rainwater tanks and electric vehicle charging points – just for starters.

Community take-up has been excellent. In 2016/17, 72 applications were approved – just over half of which were solar PV systems, with a total installed capacity of 423.8kW, and 16 were battery storage systems.

Retired city resident Ken Garrow (below) moved into his townhouse ten years ago. An early applicant to the scheme, he received rebates on the installation of ten high-output solar panels and a battery storage system.

Ken Garrow, Adelaide city resident
Ken Garrow, Adelaide city resident

“It’s always been my ambition to be energy efficient,” said Ken, who further improved his home’s efficiency by double glazing windows and switching to LED downlights.

Combined, these measures are helping Ken achieve his goal, with lower household bills a bonus.

“My (2017) autumn electricity bill was down to $68 from an average of around $600 – that was very heartening!”

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Wisely, Ken’s realistic about his system’s capacity. He knows he’ll experience seasonal fluctuations, but takes steps to optimise its use – setting timers on household appliances so they come on when his batteries are well-charged. He also monitors his system on a tablet.

“I think it’s fantastic the City of Adelaide sees improving energy efficiency as a priority and I’m glad to be part of the movement,” said Ken.

At the other end of the scale, the Sustainability Incentives Scheme helped Adelaide Zoo fund the installation of a 150kW solar PV system which is delivering cost savings that free up funds for important conservation activity.

“As a conservation charity, reducing our carbon footprint and saving money on energy bills allows us to invest additional resources in our conservation work to save species from extinction,” said Zoos SA Chief Executive, Elaine Bensted. “As a leading ecotourism attraction, we wanted to use more solar energy to help power our sites.”

Along with the attraction’s entrance, the purpose-built and state-of-the-art Bamboo Forest, housing the Giant Pandas, is Adelaide Zoo’s biggest single energy user – because of Wang Wang and Fu Ni’s climate control requirements.

Giant Panda Wang Wang |  Image by Adrian Mann
Giant Panda Wang Wang |  Image by Adrian Mann, Zoos SA

“In fact, the solar PV in that area accounts for 43 per cent of consumed electricity and has helped us reduce our carbon emissions by around 84 tCO2-e,” said Elaine.

“Importantly, the energy generated by the solar system plays an important role in cooling Wang Wang and Fu Ni’s large rocks, along with powering their misters and lighting. It also helps to refrigerate their bamboo supply which is lucky because they can eat up to 20 kilograms a day, each!” said Elaine.

View the range of rebates available at 

Green, glorious green


Solar Savers Adelaide

In 2016, the City of Adelaide launched a program to help bridge the gap between the desire to ‘go solar’ and upfront barriers such as finance.

By conducting a rigorous supplier selection process and offering upfront funding for the purchase and installation of solar PV systems on eligible low-income and rental residential properties, Solar Savers Adelaide attracted significant community interest when announced. 58 properties met the eligibility criteria for Stage 1 of the program and 40 properties signed contracts to have either a 2.12kW or 3.18kW solar PV system installed, with Council recovering the costs from participating property owners through a separate rate charge.

Solar Savers Adelaide has contracted South Australian family-owned company Cool or Cosy to supply and install the solar PV systems. The company recently bought Tindo Solar, Australia’s only solar PV manufacturer, and will use their SA designed and manufactured solar panels. With several installation teams needed for Stage 1, Solar Savers Adelaide is reducing city carbon emissions and supporting South Australians in cleantech jobs.

Solar Panels

Stay up to date on progress and future stages at


Skye Murtagh

Skye Murtagh

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