Victoria: New Solar Homes Program

The Victorian Government has just announced the Solar Homes Program. With an investment of $1.24 billion over 10 years, the Andrews Labour Government will see solar panels installed on up to 650,000 Victorian homes.

The good news is that 50% rebates on photovoltaics and a $1000 rebate on solar hot water is accessible for up to 90% of Victorians now.

The forecast direction of the Federal Coalition energy policy is the equivalent of announcing new investment in carrier pigeons for advanced telecommunications. Fortunately, state governments are taking a more grown-up approach to energy policy and moving forward with the necessary and inevitable transition to renewables.

Admittedly, there is a significant disparity between effort and achievement demonstrated by each state. Nonetheless, there is momentum, particularly when compared to Federal regressive energy politics.

With Tasmania clean and renewable by default, it’s South Australia setting the pace for benchmarking, reaching and exceeding impressive renewables targets.

Queensland is making a heck of a lot of renewable noise of late, and to their credit, there are tangible outcomes with credible plans in the works for serious renewables progress.

The ACT government, in a bizarre contrast to its Federal roommate, is firmly geared toward reaching carbon neutral status. NSW and Western Australia seem to be dithering, reactive and otherwise focused, but it’s easily argued that their renewables dolly steps are better than nothing…maybe.


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The Victorian Labour Government has recently taken a bold move to inject significant investment into renewable electricity, announcing new rooftop photovoltaic incentives. Whether this initiative has been triggered by opportunistic electioneering or a genuine desire to 1, reduce electricity bills for Victorians and 2, contribute to meeting emissions targets, doesn’t really matter. The end result should be the same. And it’s a good clean energy outcome for Victorians and Australia generally.

The Victorian New Solar Homes Program, while far from exhaustive relative to opportunity and motivation, certainly sports some impressive intent. Let’s have a look at the key features and benefits. Should the plan progress fully to its advertised outcomes, one would expect to see some very happy solar customers and an even happier Victorian Solar industry.


An Overview of the Victorian New Solar Homes Program

The following bullet points provide an insight to the forecast Victorian photovoltaic incentive scheme. While only a small part of Victoria’s renewable future, there is no doubt that Victorian electricity consumers will welcome the access to more affordable electricity and greater electricity autonomy.


What The Scheme Provides Immediately

1. A 50% rebate on the cost of a solar PV system, up to a maximum rebate of $2,225 in 2018-19.

2. $1,000 rebates for 6,000 households for solar hot water in 2018-19.


Incentives That Will Be Determined By An Andrew’s Government Re-election

1. A photovoltaics loan scheme where purchasers pay off only 50% of the value of the system over a 4 year period.

2. $9 million to support accreditation of 4,500 electricians to install solar panels.


The Cost To Taxpayers

The new incentive package will cost Victorian taxpayers $1.24 billion. While this sounds like a significant sum, delivery is spread over 10 years, somewhat diluting the strain on State coffers. Without itemising or details, Labour stated that it would spend up to $4,550 per household to help homeowners install solar panels.


Projected Outcomes Over 10 Years

1. Over the 10 year delivery period, the program will deliver new solar systems to up to 650,000 Victorian homes.

2. Victorian households will receive up to $2,225 for the installation of an average 4kW solar system. That works out to approximately 50% savings on installation. Annual household electricity savings are projected to be as much as $890.

3. Solar Victoria, which is an independent agency, has already been established. Solar Victoria will oversee the Solar Homes Program delivery. It is anticipated that over 5,500 new jobs will be created.

4. The program will account for 12.5% of Victoria’s 2025, 40 per cent renewables target. Emissions will be cut by almost four million tonnes, which is the equivalent, on average, of removing one million cars from the roads.

5. When the program is complete, Victorians will save over $500 million on electricity bills. Interestingly, that’s a lot of cash not flowing to current fossil fuel electricity retail markets.


The New Solar Homes Program Eligibility

Essentially, the program is designed for lower-income households. Applications must be made to receive program benefits. To be eligible you must:

1. Have a combined household Taxable Income of less than $180,000 per annum
2. You must be an owner occupier
3. Your home must be valued at less than $3,000,000
4. Have no existing solar system
5. Use a program accredited installer

For further information about the New Solar Homes Program, follow this link.

Photo credit: Depositphotos

The Author

Tania is an international journalist and editor with a background in politics and foreign affairs. She also specialises in new technologies and has written about a wide variety of topics including innovations, startups, blockchain technologies, renewable energy and electric vehicles. Her articles have been published at Deutsche Welle, Marie Claire, ELLE and Cosmopolitan, as well as in multiple publications around the world.