Victoria’s Labor government has announced plans to extend its rooftop solar rebate to the state’s tens of thousands of renters, if re-elected in the state poll two weeks from now.
The announcement – released alongside a proposal to extend the Victorian renewable energy target to 50 per cent by 2030 – builds on the Andrews government’s Solar Homes program, which aims to install 2.6GW of solar PV on 650,000 rooftops in the state through a generous rebate.
That policy, announced in August, has already received almost 11,000 applications from Victorian homeowners across the state.
The extension to renters – and, equally, landlords – would see Labor invest a further $82 million over 10 years for another 50,000 rebates set aside for rental properties.
To be eligible, landlords would need to “strike an agreement” with their tenants to share the costs of installation.
The renter’s contribution (25 per cent) would be made via a “small levy” added to their rent over four years. A re-elected Labor government would cover 50 per cent of the installation cost, and the landlord the rest (25 per cent).
For a $4,000 PV system, the government explains, “Labor will cover half, the landlord will invest $1,000 over time, and renters will pay a monthly levy totalling $250 per year for four years.”
Meanwhile, the rooftop solar installed will save renters up to $890 on their power bills every year. The benefit to the landlords is having rooftop solar installed at low cost.
Owners corporations will also be eligible for the rebate, as long as they can “demonstrate that the benefits of installing solar panels will be passed on to tenants,” it says.
“Labor will give renters the right to have a pet in their home, a picture on their wall and solar panels on their roof,” said Premier Daniel Andrews in comments on Thursday.
“We’re putting the power back in the hands of Victorian families and helping them save hundreds of dollars on their electricity bills each year – and we’re now ensuring those who rent reap the same rewards.”
Environment Victoria welcomed the news on Thursday, as a step towards levelling the playing field on the benefits of rooftop solar.
“Until now, people who rent have often missed out on smart, clean energy solutions like rooftop solar and energy efficiency upgrades,” said Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham.
“These are both essential elements of keeping household energy costs as low as possible.
“This package will give 50,000 tenants control over their power bills and access to our state’s solar boom. …(It) shows that with ambitious leadership Victoria can be the leading state for solar installations nationally.”