Solar for Everyone

Government solar plan leaves renters and low-income people out in the cold, say Greens.

The Victorian Greens welcomed the Andrews Government $1.2 billion investment in rooftop solar for homeowners, closely resembling the Greens solar savers policy taken to the previous election, but note it does nothing to address power bills for those who need it most: renters and low-income households.

Today, spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change, Ellen Sandell, will unveil a costed plan to ensure renters and low income Victorians also benefit from the solar revolution.

The Greens will ensure solar is unlocked for all Victorians, not just those who can afford to own a house.

The Greens’ five-point plan includes:

  • Solar Gardens for renters and apartment owners.
    How it works: a renter or apartment-owner can buy a solar panel on a nearby building, such as a train station, and the energy it creates is credited to their bill. If they move, they still own the panel and the credit moves with them.  $1000 grants will be made available per renter to help them buy into the Solar Gardens scheme, matching the subsidy that homeowners get through Daniel Andrews’ plan.
  • Putting solar panels on every public house (just over 24,000 homes)
  • Landlords will be required to upgrade their houses with minimum energy efficiency standards - covering insulation, lighting and draught-proofing - by 2024. Landlords who face financial difficulties in upgrading their houses, or who are providing their homes at below-market rents or on a long-term lease, will be eligible for energy efficiency grants. All public housing will be upgraded to meet these new standards.
  • $1000 grants for owner-occupiers and landlords to replace inefficient, old, expensive gas heaters with efficient heat pumps, further saving money for everyone, including renters.
  • Changing planning and building rules to require all new homes to have solar panels on the roof or solar hot water if the roof does not allow for solar panels.

This plan will form part of the Greens fully-costed platform going in to the election. It is estimated to cost approximately $377 million over the forward estimates, will save over $500 a year on energy bills for renters and public housing tenants, and is being fully costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

The Greens have previously announced a plan to create Power Victoria, a public energy retailer which will help to cut up to $320 off people’s bills through providing at-cost energy to Victorians and cutting out the middlemen of private energy retailers who currently charge up to 40% marketing and profit on people’s power bills.

Quotes attributable to Ellen Sandell MP:

“Privatisation of our electricity system has failed. Jeff Kennett handed over our energy system to big corporations who have driven up prices and held onto their old, polluting coal power stations, blocking the transition to renewables”

“1 in 4 Victorians rent their home, but they are locked out of solar. Apartment-dwellers are locked out too. Our plan will allow renters and apartment-dwellers to buy into solar panels on public buildings, so they can access the energy savings they deserve.”

“Renters deserve to live in warm, comfortable homes, not glorified tents.”

“Our plan will also require landlords to upgrade all rental homes so they’re more energy efficient, the plan will put solar on all public houses across Victoria, and require all newly built houses to have solar panels. This plan will lower energy bills for the Victorians who need it most, not just those who can afford to own a house.”

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