Victorian Government announces $1.2b solar plan

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Solar panels will be installed on 650,000 Victorian homes as part of a new $1.24 billion state government plan.

Under the Solar Homes program, Victorians will be able to install a solar panel system for half price and pay the rest of the cost back over four years with an interest-free loan.

This will save the typical Victorian household up to $2225 for installation of an average 4kW solar system and help them save $890 a year on their electricity bills.

A new independent agency, Solar Victoria, will be established to work with industry, regulators and training organisations to deliver the program, which will create almost 5500 new jobs.

“We know the cost of living is going up and it’s getting harder to make ends meet,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“That’s why we are helping families with their energy bills. Only Labor will help put solar panels on your roof to cut your electricity bills by around $900 a year.”

The state government will also invest $9 million to support accreditation of 4500 electricians to install solar panels.

The investment will bring the number of homes in Victoria with solar panels to one million within ten years, which will save Victorians $500 million a year on their electricity bills once the program is complete.

It is also expected to cut carbon emissions by almost four million tonnes and generate 12.5 per cent of Victoria’s 40 per cent target for renewable energy by 2025.

The Solar Homes program also includes a $60 million package to install discounted solar hot water systems in 60,000 households.

Victorian households can replace old hot water systems with a new solar system and get $1000 back off the cost via a rebate.

This will save the average Victorian household between $160 to $400 a year off their electricity bills.

“Putting solar panels and hot water systems on more than 700,000 homes will save Victorians more than $500 million a year on their electricity bills and generate enough solar power to keep the lights on at the MCG for 9000 years,” Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said.

Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham said the program is a “game-changer and a breath of fresh air in the energy debate”.

“After years of tedious energy debates in Australia, this is the kind of leadership and vision we’ve been waiting for and shows that states can lead the way in responding to our climate and energy crises,” Mr Wakeham said.

“This plan will make Victoria the leading state for solar installations nationally.

“Every solar panel installed means less coal is burnt, so this plan is a massive win for our environment and will help Victoria meet its target of zero greenhouse pollution.”