Solar projects in Latrobe Valley advancing Victoria’s PV plans

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Victoria’s Latrobe Valley continues to be a focal point solar programs launched by the state government. The schemes point to the efforts made to enable a transition away from a dependence on brown coal mining and power generation – towards cleaner sources and jobs in the low-emissions economy.

Two projects announced were announced last week, which aims to deliver benefits to residents and enable solar deployment in the region.

The state government is looking to provide funding for rooftop PV installations on 30 public building and sites in the Latrobe Valley. Additionally, the Latrobe Valley home energy upgrade premium will provide $5 million in funding, aimed at low-income homes, or those that are owner-occupied or tenanted through private rental arrangements or community housing to install PV.

The program will give households access to up to $4500 worth of high quality solar PV modules or solar hot water packages, with the possibility of other upgrades at no cost, and solar lighting. Those who apply will receive either a 2kW solar PV system or a high efficiency space heater, a hot pump water heater

The Latrobe Valley Authority (LVA) is administrating the scheme, alongside Sustainability Victoria (SV), a department that aims to help Victorians be more energy efficient in their homes, jobs, and communities.  The Home Energy Upgrade Program has received over 800 expressions of interest and is part of a $266 million package to bolster the Latrobe Valley economy.

The aim of these projects by these projects is to support local jobs within the renewable energy eco-system while helping vulnerable households and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

To further assist job creation in the clean economy in the region, the residents in the City of Latrobe and other Victorian cities Baw Baw and Wellington Shires will now be able to buy locally-made solar hot water systems, which they will be able to purchase from now on until June 2019.

It is estimated that the solar hot water systems are 20% cheaper than the current commercially available water systems. Furthermore, customers can supposedly save from 30% to 50% on their energy bills with the solar thermal hot water systems.

The program is being funded under the $900,000 Community Power Hubs Program that is already being trialled for two years in Gippsland, Ballarat, and Morwell. The project receives funds as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s target to reach 40% renewables output by 2025 and to reduce greenhouse gases emissions.

The Victorian government is also leading on the large scale solar front, supporting up to 850 MW of renewable energy projects, expected to bring up to $1.65 billion in new investment into the state.