More than 6,000 homes and businesses in Perth, which will become the country’s seventh Solar City, will be directly involved in the scheme.

They will receive water-saving devices, energy-efficient lighting, smart meters and discounted solar panels as a result of the $13.9m of Commonwealth funding.

Homes and businesses in Perth and across Western Australia have already been forced to make cuts in energy usage after an explosion at a major gas plant in June sparked an energy shortage in the state.

Perth follows Central Victoria, Adelaide, Blacktown, Townsville, Alice Springs and Coburg in becoming part of the $94m programme.

The scheme is expected to save more than 15,000 tonnes of carbon in the city, cut the amount of energy used in 3,200 homes.

“I am delighted to welcome Perth on board,” Environment Minister Peter Garrett said.

“It makes an exciting final addition to the programme and further expands the types of trials for households and businesses that these cities are all about – providing practical research into energy efficiency.”

The seven Solar Cities combined are expected to reduce carbon pollution by more than 76,000 tonnes each year, with more than 3,200 solar photovoltaic panels expected to be installed on private and public housing and other buildings.

Mr Garrett added: “Together, these Solar Cities will provide us with invaluable information that will bolster our understanding of how homes and businesses can reduce their energy use, save on energy bills and take practical action to help tackle climate change.”

The Western Australian state government said a number of communities, initially in Perth’s Eastern Region, would be able to take part in the scheme.

It has teamed up with local governments, solar energy companies and a host of other private firms to form the Perth Solar City Consortium to run the city’s programme.

Watch Environment Minister Peter Garrett explain the motivations behind the scheme below.

Kate Martin

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