Bendigo solar reduces running costs

La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus is a step closer to net zero carbon emissions, with the completion of solar carports covering almost 200 parking spaces.

The new carports have added 1500 solar panels to the campus – bringing the total, including hundreds installed on rooftops, to more than 3,300.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said that one third of electricity used at the Bendigo campus is now generated by onsite renewables.

“Not only do students and staff now have a shady place to park their cars during hot days, but with this investment we have significantly reduced the campus’ running costs, and carbon emissions,” Professor Dewar said.

“It’s exciting to see these carports and other initiatives come to fruition after years of planning, as we draw closer to achieving our goal of net zero carbon emissions on our regional campuses by 2022, and across the University by 2029.”

The carports are part of a suite of measures the University has implemented in Bendigo to reach the 2022 goal – including installing thousands of high-efficiency LED lights and a large-scale organic waste composter.

President of the Bendigo Sustainability Group, Mr Colin Lambie, said La Trobe University is a model for other organisations who are serious about reducing their carbon footprint.

“Here we see an organisation that has set itself an ambitious target, and is investing a range of energy-efficient, sustainable measures to achieve a good outcome for itself, and for the community,” Mr Lambie said.

“Reducing carbon emissions and impact on the environment should be a significant focus for all organisations.”

The solar panels at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus equate to 1.15 MW, or the equivalent of 230 household systems.

La Trobe students and staff are now using software developed at the University to monitor energy production and identify further energy efficiency improvements.

La Trobe is internationally recognised for its commitment making the world a better place, ranking fourth in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

More information on the Net Zero program can be found at the University’s website.

View a timelapse video of the carports under construction.

Bendigo campus:

  • Has more than 3,300 solar panels, with one third of the campus’ electricity generated from onsite renewables.
  • Harvests around two million litres of rainwater per year, used to flush toilets and for irrigation.
  • Had 6,500 high efficiency low-cost LED light fittings installed in 2019.
  • Has a large-scale composter, capable of converting the equivalent of 100kg of organic waste into 20kg of nutrient rich, eco-friendly fertiliser for campus gardens and grounds every day.

Image: Professor John Dewar AO, Vice-Chancellor La Trobe University

Media contact: Kate O'Connor - 0436 189 629, k.o'