Melbourne roads will soon feature solar-powered trams, thanks to Northern Victoria’s large-scale solar farms.

Melbourne: Solar Powered Trams

Solar-powered trams are scheduled to hit the streets of Melbourne. The state’s tram network will get its solar power from large-scale solar farms in Northern Victoria. The farms are part of the government’s plan to get carbon emissions down to zero by 2050.

The new solar plants will dedicate 35MW to power Melbourne’s tram network. No less than Lily D’Ambrosio, the environment and energy minister, confirmed this. D’Ambrosio assured that solar-powered trams would rid the city of 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

The government plans to use their purchasing power as a large energy consumer. This would increase solar investment as well as provide jobs. The project sees at least 300 Victorians with new jobs. It also delivers $150m in capital expenditure to regional Victoria.

It seems the environment is not the only one to benefit from solar farms and solar-powered trams. The local economy gets a boost, too.

The Andrews government is not sincere 

Solar-powered trams fit a 2015 Greens policy. However, The Greens doubt the government’s stand in renewable energy. While promoting large-scale solar projects, the government cut solar feed-in tariffs on the other hand.

On January 1, the minimum feed-in-tariff went from 6.2 to 5 cents per kilowatt hour. But according to D’Ambrosio, it was a hangover from the previous Coalition government. She added that there would be a 20% increase in feed-in tariff starting July 1.

The Greens MP Ellen Sandell commented that plan on the coal industry should have materialized last year. This makes them question the government’s intentions in terms of renewables.

Symbolic solar-powered trams

For Mark Wakefield, the solar-powered trams seemed symbolic. After all, it is one of Melbourne’s most recognizable features. The chief executive of Environment Victoria, like most Melbourne residents perhaps, would love to see the train network also powered by renewable energy.