A new state government initiative is making it easier for Victorian households to share in the benefits of solar energy.
Householders will now be able to have solar panels installed on their roofs with little to no up-front coast by entering into an agreement with a solar company.
The arrangement enables solar companies to provide, install and maintain a solar panel system on a household, and in exchange the householder buys the energy they provide for an agreed price.
The initiative is part of Labor’s Renewable Energy Roadmap, setting out the government’s plan to accelerate renewable energy generation and create sustainable jobs.
Solar energy bodies believe the initiative can have a massive impact in the investment housing market, with solar companies able to install and maintain a solar power system at a rental household and provide cheaper power for the tenants – at no charge to the landlord.
The Solar Council chief executive John Grimes said the program is a “positive change”.
“There’s been a split incentive where landlords have previously not been interested,” Mr Grimes.
“The demographic with solar power is really interesting. Solar is being taken up in lower socio-economic groups such as working families and self-funded pensioners.
“If you put an average size system, (four kilowatts) on an average house, you could slash a bill by 60-65 per cent.”
Statistics from solar advocate organisation Solar Citizens show Ballarat ranks 84 out of Australia’s 150 electorates for usage of the renewable energy, with more than 6,400 homes now using solar.
Research also shows more than $32 million has been invested in solar power in the electorate, 19.8 megawatts of clean energy generated.
Solar energy is saving more than 24,7000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the area, while more than $3.6 million is being slashed off power bills.