Tasmania’s New Solar Incentive For Business

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The Tasmanian government announced a $30-million Renewable Energy Loan Scheme last week to help businesses make better use of renewable energy sources, including solar power systems.
   
Minister for Alternative Energy, Nick McKim, said the initiative will provide Tasmania the opportunity to build on its long-established renewable energy foundations; based mainly in hydro-electric power.
   
"Many Tasmanian businesses have adopted sustainable operating practices, as a point of difference from their interstate competitors. Development of renewable energy projects offers the perfect complement, to make Tasmanian businesses stand out."
   
Assistance under the scheme includes a low-interest loan for up to 70% of the value of a renewable energy project and grants for up to 10% of the project’s value; which will be capped at $100,000 per applicant.
   
Applicants will need to contribute up to 20% of the project’s value themselves, depending on the value of security offered and applications will be assessed on a competitive basis.
   
The Renewable Energy Loan Scheme Guidelines are available on the Department’s website.
   
Australian solar power solutions provider Energy Matters co-founder Max Sylvester say the initiative is a great boost for renewable energy in Tasmania. 
  
"While Tasmania has a good chunk of renewables in its energy mix, the state still imports a great deal of coal-fired based electricity from the mainland at times. This initiative will help increase energy independence, Tasmania’s ability to export power and bolster the renewable energy industry in the state generally. Our team of medium scale commercial solar experts in Tasmania are looking forward to discussing potential projects under the scheme with local businesses."
 
According to Hydro Tasmania, 9000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity are produced annually from the State’s hydropower resources. However, IRIS Tasmania says reliance on hydro generation has been reduced by the conversion of Bell Bay Power Station to natural gas, the installation of three gas turbine generators and Basslink, the world’s second longest undersea electricity cable. 
  
The link can transmit 500 megawatts (MW) of energy on a continuous basis in either direction. The line adds supply security on both sides of Bass Strait; protecting Tasmania against the risk of drought-related energy shortages. The Basslink interconnector runs from Loy Yang coal-fired power generation facilities in Gippsland, Victoria, across Bass Strait to Bell Bay in Northern Tasmania.