Solar Victoria

Victoria’s Solar rush

Victoria’s Solar rush

Residential PV installations are on a roll, nowhere more so than in Victoria where the ‘Solar Revolution’ has hit a record 30,000 homes under the Labor Government’s landmark Solar Homes program, with households helping supply more energy to the grid.

This week the 10,000th rebate will be paid, taking savings for Victorian households to more than $21 million since the program opened last August.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said “Tens of thousands of Victorians have taken advantage of our rebates and are saving money on installation and slashing their power bills.

“We’re putting power back into the hands of Victorians – putting a power station on their roof to drive down energy costs, boost supply and fight climate change.”

However due to the enormous popularity of the program and with rebates almost fully subscribed, Solar Victoria has announced it can only accept a final 2,000 applications for solar panel rebates this financial year.

“The capping the intake of applications will help us to: prioritise and focus on existing applications in our database, and monitor and manage targets of the Solar Homes program in a way that’s sustainable for both the industry and householders over the 10-year life of the program,” the widely circulated email read.

Existing applicants will not be impacted by this announcement.

It’s not the end of the scheme however, as the second phase of the $1.3 billion Solar Homes program kicks in on 1 July.

“Bigger and better than ever – offering Victorians even more rebates for solar panels or solar hot water,” according to the Victorian government.

The new financial year also marks the start of the progressive Victorian government’s no-interest loans offer, enabling households to install solar with no upfront costs, as well as solar panels for 50,000 rental properties and 10,000 solar batteries.

To boost safety and ensure an orderly rollout of the program, caps on the number of solar PV, hot water and battery rebates provided under the program will be set each year.

Minister for Solar Homes Lily D’Ambrosio reassured the community saying “Plans are well underway for the next phase of the program, which will be bigger and better than ever.  

“For people who are still considering installing solar, now is the time to do your research. Talk to a participating solar retailer who can help you choose a system which is right for you, so you’re ready to go on 1 July.”

During the next decade Victoria could see as many as 770,000 homes benefitting from the Solar Homes package.

On the big picture, Solar Homes will cut Victoria’s carbon emissions by almost four million tonnes which is estimated as equivalent to taking one million of Victoria’s 4.6 million cars off the road. 

Household solar is also expected to generate 12.5 per cent of Victoria’s 40 per cent target for renewable energy by 2025.

Solar’s stellar trajectory

Victoria’s Solar Homes program has contributed significantly to the record number of rooftop PV installations recorded in March, which saw 181 MW installed, more capacity in a single month than in all the years prior to 2010 combined, according to market analyst SunWiz.

Green Energy Markets also identified Victoria as the front-runner in both system numbers and installed capacity, with a market share of more than 27 per cent market in March.  

“Victoria's PV solar market has exploded in the past six months following the announcement of the Solar Homes program and Victoria's March system numbers were 93 per cent above March of last year,” GEM reported.
During March across the nation 168 MW of solar PV small generation units created STCs representing 23,028 PV systems; 4 per cent up on February and a mighty 28 per cent above the monthly average for 2018. 

Green Energy Markets reported year-to-date installed capacity of 482 MW is 41 per cent higher than this time last year (342 MW) and more than double that of two years ago (224 MW).
At the end March, the 2019 average weekly (net) STC creation rate was 648k; 14 per cent above the 2019 weekly target requirement of 569,000.

Turning to hot water: small scale technology certificates representing 5410 SWH systems were created in March, which was 11 per cent above February levels. Year to date SWH system numbers are on par with the same time last year, up 1 per cent.

For those keeping an eye on the STC spot price: it opened in March at $37.30, trending upwards during the first week to settle around $37.55.  On March 12 the STC spot price fell to $36.75 and then began drifting up again reaching $37.50 on March 21 before losing ground again.  

The STC spot price closed the month at $36.40, GEM noted.

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