Victoria’s solar and wind rush has begun.
On Friday, the Andrews government fired the starting gun on what it promises will be an energy revolution for Victoria.
Under a Labor promise announced last month, the state will pick up the tab as an estimated 650,000 homes install solar panels on their roofs over the next 10 years.
The government hasn’t even waited for an election mandate to start acting on its pledge to “put power back in the hands of Victorian households”.
The scheme opened on Friday and has been backdated to August 19, meaning anyone who bought solar panels on the basis of the Premier’s grand promise will be able to recover half the cost.
The scheme means any household on an annual income of less than $180,000, with a home valued at less than $3 million, can apply to fledgling agency Solar Victoria for a rebate of up to $2225 on the installation of solar panels.
The solar pledge, costed at $1.24 billion, was just the first of a flood of renewables-focused promises and announcements the Andrews government has made in the lead-up to the state election on November 24.
There are $1000 rebates on offer for replacing an old solar hot water system with a new one.
Those who already have solar panels can apply for a 50 per cent rebate on the installation of a solar battery, capped at $4838.
New planning laws will also be gazetted, giving homeowners increased protection from neighbouring developments that threaten to overshadow their solar panels.
Meanwhile, more than 900 megawatts of new wind and solar energy was committed to this week when the results of Victoria’s first “reverse auction” for renewables was announced.
The reverse auction worked like this: months ago the government said it intended to deliver 650 megawatts of renewables into the energy grid, and asked industry to pitch its best proposals.
In the end it opted for 928 megawatts worth – backing the creation of three solar farms and three wind farms across the state.
The Cooks are neither a political nor an “eco-family”. But, about a year after installing rooftop solar on their home in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs, the family of three now want a solar battery at home too.
Marc, Gemma and 18-month-old Mia live in Lyndhurst in the state seat of Cranbourne District. It is one of the most marginal seats in Victoria – and it is leading the state’s uptake in rooftop solar.
Marc works in auto-repairs, Gemma works in real estate. They bought their first home about four years ago.
These are the people the Andrews government is betting on to deliver its re-election this November, with a string of high-profile announcements aimed at making the state Australia’s leader in domestic-scale renewable energy.