Direct Action And Solar Power – More Details

Environment Minister Greg Hunt provided more detail of the solar component of Direct Action in a speech delivered at the Clean Energy Council National Conference in Melbourne on Tuesday.
In addition to incentives under the Renewable Energy Target (which will come under scrutiny next year); the Direct Action plan includes support for solar power through the Coalition’s One Million Roofs, Solar Towns and Solar Schools programmes.
Minister Hunt says the Government will provide $500 million for the One Million Solar Roofs programme and a further $50 million each for the Solar Towns and Solar Schools programmes.
The Solar Roofs programme will provide $500 rebates for installing one million rooftop solar panel systems over the next decade and will also extend to solar hot water systems and heat pumps.
However, it still seems the rebate won’t be available to everyone and the focus appears to have changed from solar PV to solar hot water.
“Priority will be given to low-income households and solar water heaters. In addition, the energy needs of remote indigenous communities will be carefully considered under the programme,” said the Minister.
“The potential for including energy storage linked to photovoltaic systems will also be examined. Around 10 per cent of the rooftop systems will be allocated to not-for-profit organisations as part of the Community Solar programme.”
The Solar Towns programme will support at least 25 projects with a maximum of $2 million per town and the Solar Schools programme will support a minimum of 100 schools with a maximum grant of $500,000 per school.
Minister Hunt said the three initiatives will commence in the 2014-15 financial year. Given the uncertainty surrounding next year’s Renewable Energy Target review, it remains to be seen if Direct Action, if implemented, will be a case of giving with one hand and taking with another. 
The full transcript of Minister Hunt’s Clean Energy Council National Conference speech can be viewed here.