NSW Greens add to solar election momentum, to mandate solar, storage on new builds

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The PV bidding wars in the lead up to the New South Wales state election has intensified, with the NSW Greens releasing its Household Solar Plan. The key aspects of the policy include mandating solar and storage systems for new dwellings, $2,000 rebates for solar and storage systems for 500,000 households, and solar for all state housing and government buildings.

Integrated into the plan is a ‘community solar offset scheme’ that people living in apartments or renters will be able to participate – targeting 200,000 people over four years.

The NSW Greens’ solar proposals come with a price tag of $1.25 billion, and target 1 million new solar homes.

The mandate for solar and battery storage for new homes could deliver an additional 350,000 systems over four years.

“It is negligent that in 2019 we have over 70,000 new dwellings in NSW every year and no requirement for solar panels on these developments,” said NSW Greens’ Environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann in a statement.

In late 2018, California introduced a solar mandate for new homes to come into effect in 2020. GTM Research estimates that such a mandate could see an increase in the state’s residential market – bringing it to 1.2 GW per year in 2020. pv magazine USA estimates that the biggest impact of the solar mandate would be on system pricing – with economies of scale reducing the average down to US$1.12 per watt.

Alongside the mandate and other measures, the NSW Greens have proposed that an additional $0.044/kW be added to solar feed in tariffs, in what it calls A Fair Price for Solar. The boost to the tariff accounts for “avoided health and social cost” resultant from PV generation. While admirable, boosting FITs reduces the attractiveness for residential energy storage – seen to be increasingly important as rooftop solar penetration levels continue to rise

The NSW Greens’ rooftop PV policy comes on the back of announcements by both the state government and opposition of new rooftop solar support schemes. The Berejiklian Government proposes $3.2 billion in interest-free loans for households to buy solar and storage systems, while state Labor has committed to introduce $2,200 rebates for half a million households for solar systems.

The rooftop solar package announced today by the NSW Greens is a part of its Roadmap to 100% Renewable Energy by 2030 package set to be released “in coming weeks”.