Victoria’s Solar Homes Package Boosting Jobs

As well as saving Victorian households a bundle of cash on going solar, the state’s Solar Homes Package rebate scheme is giving local employment a boost too.

The Solar Homes Package was announced in August last year, offering rebates of up to $2,225 to support the installation of solar panels on 24,000 homes or until June 30 this year – whichever comes first1. Then from later this year, an expanded program aims to see solar panels on a total of 700,000 Victorian homes, including 50,000 rentals. Additionally, it will support a further 60,000 households in installing solar hot water and 10,000 households to install solar batteries.

Victoria’s Minister for Solar Homes2 Lily D’Ambrosio was in the Latrobe Valley yesterday, visiting an installation company in Traralgon (Gippsland Solar) that has employed five new staff since the start of the scheme – and still has positions to fill.

“Our Solar Homes program is creating a renewable energy boom in the Latrobe Valley,” said Minister D’Ambrosio. “We’re driving down energy costs for families, creating local jobs and supporting local businesses.”

Big Jump In Solar Installations Across Victoria

Of course, it’s not just the Latrobe Valley that’s seeing a boost in solar action. Installations are well up across Victoria, so no doubt that has created a bunch of new jobs. Even prior to the Solar Homes Package, installations were occurring at quite a rapid clip.

Based on the latest information available from Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator, for the first couple of full months after the Solar Homes announcement:

  • September 2018: 3,758 installations
  • October 2018: 4,697 installations

Same months, previous year:

  • September 2017: 2,582  installations
  • October 2017: 2,953 installations

So, at least 8,455 installs in Victoria for September/October 2018 vs. 5,535 for September/October 2017 – an increase of around 50%.

Figures for November haven’t been included as the most recent data from the Regulator is current as at 30 November and was released in mid-December. The Regulator’s numbers are calculated on the creation of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs), on which Australia’s major solar subsidy (separate to the Solar Homes Package) is based. There is a 12-month period in which the STCs can be created after a system is installed, so November 2018’s figure at that point wouldn’t be very accurate. It also means the installation totals for September and October 2018 will continue to rise. The Regulator should be providing an update soon.

At last count, the total number of small-scale solar power installations in Victoria had reached 371,458.

Latrobe Valley New Energy Jobs Fund Announcements

While in the Latrobe Valley yesterday, this time wearing her Minister for Energy hat, Ms. D’Ambrosio also announced recipients sharing in more than $160,000 in grants through the Latrobe Valley New Energy Jobs Fund. The organisations to receive grants are:

  • Alternate Energy Innovations: for wind turbine tower manufacturing and installation of a training/demonstration turbine ($52,300)
  • Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation: for the execution of a solar farm financial feasibility study ($12,000)
  • Earthworker Energy Manufacturing Cooperative: manufacturing in-house energy efficiency products ($52,300)
  • Edge Energy Solutions: a behind-the-meter energy generation and storage trial with view to developing an energy storage service ($50,000)

The fund supports jobs and investment for renewable energy and new energy technologies in the Latrobe Valley as it transitions from coal.

Footnotes

  1. I don’t have any figures on how many rebates are left at this point in time
  2. A new title?
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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