Lonely Planet Writer

The sun shines on Melbourne as trams to go completely solar-powered by 2018

Melbourne’s trams are probably as emblematic as London’s red buses and the San Francisco’s cable cars – they feature on almost every tourism image of the city and you won’t be able to leave the city without catching one.

Melbourne tram in motion.
Melbourne tram in motion. Image by Grant V. Faint/Getty

Melburnians like to boast that they have the world’s largest tram network with 250 kms of double track plying the city streets. As of next year they’ll also have the first run entirely on solar power. Last week the government announced the 400-trams-strong network will be going completely solar by the end of 2018.

#arttram number 4

A photo posted by @melbourne_trams on Oct 10, 2014 at 12:59am PDT

They’re one of the main ways Melbourne residents commute around the city so most of the city’s trams are newly-built and imported from Europe, but a few historic trams still run, including the free City Circle tram that loops around the central business district (and includes commentary for visitors) and the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant where you can dine while touring a few key city routes.

Melbourne Tram 復古電聯車🇦🇺 #tram #melbourne #melbournetrams #墨爾本

A photo posted by ADRIANNE ادريان 氨啄 (@adrianloewee) on Nov 13, 2016 at 5:54am PST

On making the announcement, Energy Minister Lily d’Ambrosio said: ‘the world is moving to clean energy, we made a commitment as a government, we continue to uphold that commitment to grow renewable energy’.

The tender to build the 75 megawatts of new solar farms in the state’s northwest is now open and the government expects the project to create 300 new jobs. We’d consider that a win-win story for Melbourne. Given Australia is among the sunniest places on earth, one could ask: why did it take so long?

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