Victorian community solar 'bulk buy' offer snapped up – 150 households in one month

The second round of a Central Victorian ‘bulk-buy’ community solar scheme has attracted 150 registrations for rooftop solar in just 29 days.
Rooftop solar demand appears to be booming in rural Victoria, with 150 households from the shire of Mount Alexander registering to install a PV system in just 29 days, in the second round a community-based solar scheme.
The solar bulk-buy initiative, called MASH2, launched a second-round offer less than a month ago, after a highly successful first round led to the installation of 225 solar systems in the Central Victorian shire.
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The scheme, coordinated by not-for-profit group the Hub Foundation, gives locals access to quality approved rooftop solar at a bulk-buy price. As in the first round, MASH2 offered the extra incentive to participants of promising to install two free solar systems on a community organisation after 100 systems had gone on rooftops. (See the MASH2 system pricing below.)
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According to a progress update released on Wednesday, the MASH2 community solar bulk-buy has already achieved 150 registrations from households in Mount Alexander Shire and nearby, putting it well on target to achieve 150 installations by the end of December.
According to the Hub Foundation, local Castlemaine-based solar installer, Universal Power and Light – which was appointed for MASH2 under contract to the project’s supplier SunEdison Australia (formerly known as Energy Matters) – has had to take on more staff to cope with the high levels of demand resulting from the project.
SunEdison said its preferred approach to community solar projects in regional areas was to use local installers, rather than do the work themselves.
Jo Kaptein, who is project officer at the Hub Foundation, said that as well as the 150 households registering to install solar, around 120 people had attended the scheme’s first five community information meetings.
“This is very encouraging”, Kaptein said, “particularly as Mount Alexander Shire already has one in four households with solar PV systems.”
As we reported here last month, the MASH scheme doesn’t yet include options for energy storage, but Kaptein has told RenewEconomy that both the round 1 & 2 PV systems will be compatible with battery storage when it becomes available at competitive prices “in the next one to four years.”

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