More Sunny Days Ahead For Home Solar Power In Victoria

Andrews Labor Govvernment and solar power

Image: Daniel Andrews | Via Facebook

With Labor to remain at the helm in Victoria, it now has solar power and other renewable energy commitments to make good on.

“… obviously something has gone horribly wrong.”

.. thus spake Victorian Shadow Attorney General John Pesutto on Saturday evening when it became clear the Coalition had been given a trousers-down, bare bottom spanking by Victorian voters.

Part of what went horribly wrong may have had to do with the Coalition’s support for renewable energy – or lack thereof. Leader of the Opposition Mathew Guy’s vow to dump the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) wouldn’t have been particularly helpful to his cause in a state where renewables have only grown in popularity.

So, with Labor back at the wheel (after needing to engage a designated driver on Saturday night), what commitments relating to renewables will the Andrews Government now have to live up to?

Expansion Of Solar Homes Package

Victoria’s Solar Homes Package scheme set a goal of 650,000 new rooftop solar installations in the state over ten years. It is to initially provide 24,000 eligible Victorian households up to a maximum $2,225 rebate on a solar power system (on top of Australia’s existing subsidy) to 30 June 2019, with the remainder to follow now Labor has been voted back in. The Government has also committed to making interest-free solar loans available from July next year.

The initial tranche of 24,000 subsidies could be exhausted well prior to 30 June next year. SQ’s Ronald predicted in August that the first round of funding would run out by February 2019.

Solar For Renters

$82 million will be provided for a solar for renters scheme whereby the government will pay 50% of the cost of a rooftop solar power system, and the landlord and tenant contribute 25% each. The scheme will cover 50,000 rental properties over a period of 10 years. This number will be added to the 650,000 installation target in the Solar Homes Package.

Cheaper Batteries For 10,000

The re-elected Andrews Labor Government will provide an initial subsidy of up to $4,838 per instance on the installation of solar battery storage systems, which will taper down to $3,714 by 2026. The subsidy will be available to 10,000 Victorian solar households. It’s not yet clear when the battery subsidy will commence, or the conditions attached.

Expanded Renewable Energy Target

In the lead-up to the election, Premier Andrews committed to boosting the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) to 50 per cent by 2030. Currently the VRET is legislated as 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.

But Wait, There’s More

Other Labor commitments related to renewable energy listed in the Party Platform 2018 released in July include:

  • Establishing energy storage targets.
  • Exploring ways for low income households to invest in renewable energy generation and storage.
  • Ensuring local manufacturing facilities receive priority in supplying materials and goods for publicly-funded renewable energy projects.
  • Investigating other alternative sources of renewable energy such as waste to energy (which some would argue shouldn’t be classed as renewables).
  • Investigating and promoting opportunities for renewable energy use on the state’s farms.
  • A review of planning laws relating to overshadowing to provide protection for owners of solar power systems1
  • Phasing in and promoting the uptake of direct subscription to off-site solar power (virtual net metering).

Take Note Messrs. Morrison And Taylor

The result in Victoria should be sounding a very strong warning to the federal Coalition regarding how it’s handling some hot-button issues, including renewables and energy generally.

“Tonight we’ve seen the people of Victoria are waiting with baseball bats for Scott Morrison and the Liberals when they turn up for the next federal election,” said 9News Political Editor Chris Ulhmann on Saturday evening.

It might not just be Victorians the Liberals should fear.

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.

Speak Your Mind