Victoria’s Solar Homes program boosts jobs and businesses

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As the number of applications for half-price solar panel rebates continues to grow, Victorian solar jobs and businesses are enjoying a boost. This trend has not circumvented the Latrobe Valley, which is home to all three of the state’s coal-fired power plants. 

In order to see first-hand the difference the rebates program is having on the region, Minister for Solar Homes Lily D’Ambrosio has visited local business Gippsland Solar in Traralgon.

Since the program’s launch, the company has hired five more staff and seen a spike in the number of people registering their interest in solar energy.

“We have hired five staff since Solar Homes was announced and we’re actively looking to fill multiple roles across our workshops, showrooms and offices. It’s a great time to be working in the solar industry,” said Gippsland Solar Managing Director Andy McCarthy.

According to the latest data, Solar Victoria, an agency established to roll out the Solar Homes initiative, has already received nearly 50 local applications for solar PV rebates in the Latrobe Valley.

“Our Solar Homes program is creating a renewable energy boom in the Latrobe Valley,” said Minister for Solar Homes Lily D’Ambrosio.

“We’re driving down energy costs for families, creating local jobs and supporting local businesses.” 

Unveiled in August and officially opened for applications in September last year, the Solar Homes provides rebates of $2,225 to support the installation of solar panels on 24,000 homes, as well as up to $1,000 for solar hot water systems on 6,000 homes, under the current initiative set to expire on June 30.

It is available to Victorians with a household income of up to $180,000 who live in their own home valued at up to $3 million – with homeowners only eligible for one rebate.

Overall, the program aims to put solar panels on 700,000 Victorian homes, including 50,000 rental homes, and support a further 60,000 homes to install solar hot water and 10,000 homes to install solar batteries.

Currently, Victoria is the nation’s third biggest rooftop PV installer, with around 15% of solar homes, following NSW on the second place and Queensland cemented at the top of the chart.

According to the December statistics, Victoria contributes with nearly 1.5 GW to the nation’s 7.8 GW rooftop PV fleet.   

While on the visit to the Latrobe Valley, D’Ambrossio also announced four local businesses, which have received funding of more than $160,000 in grants through the Latrobe Valley New Energy Jobs Fund to undertake new energy projects.

The latest businesses to receive funding are:

$52,300 to Alternate Energy Innovations to develop equipment for wind turbine tower manufacturing and installation of a training and demonstration turbine

$12,000 to Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation to conduct a solar farm financial feasibility study

$52,300 to Earthworker Energy Manufacturing Cooperative to manufacture in-house energy efficiency products

$50,000 to Edge Energy Solutions for a behind-the-meter energy generation and storage trial to develop an energy storage service.