Victorian Budget Plan 2023/24: Changes to Residential and Business Battery Rebates, Revival of SEC

Victorian Budget Plan 2023/24

Victoria’s State Budget for 2023-24, released on May 23rd, focuses on energy-related initiatives. The budget includes plans to revive the State Electricity Commission (SEC), establish a centre of training excellence for renewable energy, and develop the Victorian Energy Jobs Plan. These initiatives will be funded through commitments to transition to renewables, invest in businesses, train new workers, and build new infrastructure, ultimately creating numerous job opportunities.

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Herewith delves into the key highlights of the Solar Victoria State Budget Update, underscoring the significance of this forward-thinking initiative.

Expanding the Solar Homes Program

The centrepiece of the Solar Victoria State Budget Update is the expansion of the successful Solar Homes Program. This program aims to make solar power accessible and affordable for all Victorians by providing generous rebates and interest-free loans

The Solar Homes Program will continue to support Victorians in adopting renewable energy by providing rebates and interest-free loans for solar panels, battery storage, and electric hot water. This year, the program will allocate 53,000 rebates with a value of $1,400 each, accompanied by an additional $1,400 interest-free loan. Furthermore, hot water rebates worth $1,000 will continue to be available, with 4,500 set for distribution in 2023-24.

With the budget update, the government plans to extend the program, increasing the number of available rebates to facilitate the installation of an additional 42,000 solar panel systems across the state. By making solar energy more accessible, the government aims to empower households and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and lower their energy bills.

Supporting battery storage solutions

Recognising the importance of energy storage in maximising the benefits of solar power, the Solar Victoria State Budget Update also includes provisions for supporting battery storage solutions. Under the budget update, households and businesses that have installed solar panels through the Solar Homes Program will be eligible for rebates on home battery storage systems. This incentive aims to encourage the adoption of battery storage technology, enabling residents to store excess energy generated during the day for use during peak times or during power outages, thereby increasing self-sufficiency and reducing strain on the grid.

To further encourage the uptake of renewable energy, the battery rebate program will transition from rebates to interest-free loans. The budget has allocated funds for the delivery of 4,500 interest-free loans of up to $8,800 each through the Solar Homes Program. An additional $16 million has been allocated to enable the delivery of the interest-free loan program during the specified period.

As of June 30th, applications for battery rebates will no longer be accepted. Instead, the loan offer will be launched after July 1st, 2023, following the completion of the program design. However, rebate applications received before June 30th will still be processed, and approved applicants will be given sufficient time to install their batteries and receive the rebate. Solar Victoria is working on a seamless transition between the two incentives, and program design is already underway.

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Solar for Business program

Applications for the Solar for Business program will remain open until June 30th, marking the end of the expected delivery timeline. Applicants who submit their applications before the deadline will have 120 days to install their systems. The program has been successful across the state, providing support for Victorian businesses to save up to $2,000 per year on energy bills. The recent incentives announced by the Commonwealth Government will ensure ongoing support for businesses in the renewable energy sector.

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SEC’s revival

The Andrews Labor Government plans to revive the State Electricity Commission (SEC) in Victoria to promote renewable energy, reduce power costs, and generate numerous jobs. The budget for 2023/24 includes an initial $1 billion investment in the SEC, aiming to produce 4.5 gigawatts of renewable power, equivalent to the capacity of Loy Yang A. The reintroduction of the SEC is not only expected to increase renewable energy generation, decrease carbon emissions, and lower electricity bills but also create 59,000 job opportunities.

The revival of the State Electricity Commission marks a significant step towards a sustainable and resilient energy future for Victoria. With a focus on renewable energy, reliability, affordability, and public engagement, the SEC’s return demonstrates the government’s commitment to addressing the challenges of climate change and building a prosperous future for all Victorians. By harnessing the power of innovation and community collaboration, the revived SEC has the potential to transform the state’s energy sector and serve as a model for other regions seeking to create a greener and more sustainable future.

The significance of the SEC's revival

The SEC played a vital role in powering Victoria’s industries and households. Its return signifies a proactive approach by the State Government to address the challenges posed by climate change and meet the growing energy demands of modern society. By reinstating the SEC, Victoria aims to harness the power of renewable energy sources and build a resilient and sustainable energy infrastructure.

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Creating economic opportunities

The revival of the SEC presents an opportunity to drive economic growth and create jobs in Victoria. The focus on renewable energy infrastructure development will attract investment, stimulate innovation, and generate employment opportunities across the state. The SEC’s projects will not only contribute to Victoria’s energy independence but also support local industries and drive technological advancements in the energy sector.

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