• Artist impression of the La Trobe Renewable Zone.
    Artist impression of the La Trobe Renewable Zone.

La Trobe University plans to build the largest urban solar farm in Victoria with around 4300 solar panels, in turn reducing its total emissions by 15 per cent,

The La Trobe University Renewable Zone is being built on 3.5 hectares at its Bundoora Campus and is part of the Uni’s goal to achieve net zero by 2029.

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. 

Construction is due to begin in early 2024.

“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,” said Professor John Dewar, vice-chancellor at La Trobe. 

“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.

“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.

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 bio-diversity of the site, with a focus on locally indigenous plants sourced from the La Trobe Nangak Tamboree Wildlife Sanctuary. 

La Trobe’s four regional campuses in Bendigo, Albury-Wodonga, Shepparton and Mildura have already achieved net zero emissions status. 

Other work done to improve sustainability includes installing rooftop solar panels and switching to LED lights at all campuses, installing solar carports at the Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga campuses, implementing EV chargers, transitioning the fleet to EVs, and transitioning buildings from gas to electric.