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Greens’ solar plan for a million homes

Wednesday, 13th February, 2019

The NSW Greens launched an ambitious Household Solar Plan yesterday which would seek to make it much easier for people to install solar panels or be part of a community solar offset scheme. PICTURE: Supplied The NSW Greens launched an ambitious Household Solar Plan yesterday which would seek to make it much easier for people to install solar panels or be part of a community solar offset scheme. PICTURE: Supplied

By Callum Marshall

With the state election fast approaching, the NSW Greens have launched an ambitious solar plan which seeks in the next four years to get at least one million extra households either installing solar panels or being part of community renewable energy schemes.

Announced yesterday, the $1.25 billion Household Solar Plan is part of the Greens’ Roadmap to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and involves: 

* Mandatory solar plus batteries for all new dwellings - 350,000 in four years.

* $2000 rebate for rooftop solar and batteries for 500,000 households.

* Solar panels on all public housing and government buildings - 110,000 public housing tenants receive electricity rebates.

* A community solar offset scheme for apartment owners and renters - 200,000 participants in four years

* A Fair Price for Solar - mandatory extra 4.4c/kW for avoided health and social costs.

Greens MP and Environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann said investment in solar needed to be more ambitious.

“We are seeing the devastating impact of climate change now. That’s why we need more ambition for household solar than the plans announced by the Labor party and the Government,” said Ms Faehrmann. 

“The Greens household solar plan will make it mandatory for all new dwellings to either have solar power and batteries or pay into a community renewable energy offset scheme.

“It is negligent that in 2019 we have over 70,000 new dwellings in NSW every year and no requirement for solar panels on these developments.

“Our plan will also provide a $2000 rebate for rooftop solar and batteries for up to 500,000 households and build solar panels on all public housing.”

The Greens’ are also proposing to make it easier for apartment owners and renters to benefit from rooftop solar by investing in a community solar offset scheme.

The scheme will let them buy credits in registered community renewable energy providers, which will then give them savings on their electricity bills through the energy generated by the renewable energy provider. 

Former Greens MP and now independent, Jeremy Buckingham, welcomed the announcement but said more had to be done.

“We need stronger state-based policies to drive the transformation to 100 per cent renewables and avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” he said.

“NSW should adopt a state-based renewable energy target, otherwise all the investment and jobs in the clean energy sector will be attracted to other states that do have state-based targets and NSW will miss out.

“Solar panels on people’s houses has made a dent in energy consumption, but we need the rapid development of utility based renewable energy projects, such as the Broken Hill solar farm and Silverton wind farms.”

NSW Minister for Energy Don Harwin said the Greens plan could destabilise the energy grid. 

“Trying to push through all these solar panels and batteries in just four years would absolutely compromise quality and safety for households. It could also destabilise the energy grid,” said Mr Harwin.

“The solar rebate alone would cost $1 billion. 

“A mandatory solar tariff would increase energy bills for all customers and would particularly hurt those on low fixed incomes, like pensioners.”

Mr Harwin said the Government already had a several programs to help households.

They included $15 million to enable low income households to use government energy rebates for solar panels and $30 million to help country towns develop clean energy projects, he said.

“(Also) $50 million to improve energy efficiency for low income and disadvantaged households by providing social housing upgrades, including the installation of solar panels, and helping to replace appliances.”

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