Victoria’s $1 billion Solar Energy Initiatives

The Victorian Government yesterday provided further details on a series of projects designed to boost the uptake of solar power in the state and to help Victoria meet its renewable energy targets. According to Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor, the $1 billion worth of related investment will “make us the most solar friendly-government in Australia”.

Feed In Tariffs

A Bill was introduced into Parliament yesterday designed to encourage Victorian households to invest in residential grid connect solar power systems through a feed in tariff. Under the Bill, Victorian households with grid connect systems will be eligible to receive a credit of 60 cents per kilowatt for electricity they feed back into the grid. The feed-in tariff scheme is capped at 3.2kW system size and will run for 15 years, be available to new and existing small scale systems and will allow up to 100,000 households to participate.

The Victorian feed in tariff will be based on a net model, which means that only surplus electricity generated and exported to the grid will attract the payment. The ACT’s recently launched feed in tariff program pays less, but is based on a gross model where all electricity generated by a solar power system is eligible for the premium rate.

Solar Farm

The government is also immediately seeking proposals for a solar farm that can produce about 330GWh of clean electricity annually – enough power to run 50,000 homes. The aim is to have the plant operating by 2015. The farm will be the second large-scale solar project in Victoria. 

Other initiatives

In the announcement, Victorian Premier John Brumby stated his government has also provided a $6 million grant for the Organic Solar research and development project and $50 million through the Energy Technology Innovation Strategy for a 154MW solar farm near Mildura.

Mr Brumby says that the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) has already generated $2 billion in renewable energy investment and will create more than 2000 jobs, and the government has invested $5 million in solar schools and solar power for community buildings.