Program ‘switching’ concession payments for solar systems to be expanded

Source: Worksafe Victoria

From pv magazine Australia

South Australia will extend its ‘Switch for Solar’ program in which eligible low-income residents can opt to have a solar system installed in exchange for their next ten years of government concession payments.

The South Australian government has announced it will expand its ‘Switch for Solar’ program, opening up another 5,000 spots for residents on either an eligible Centrelink payment, who meet low income provisions, or hold an eligible concession card.

Program participants will be able to install a 4.4 kW solar system at no upfront cost in return for their annual Energy and Cost of Living concession payments over the course of a decade.

The program was initially piloted in May 2021, opening to 1,000 eligible residents. The state government described this initial pilot phase as “highly successful”, saying the program now has “proven results”.

“Electricity bills of households already in the program have fallen by well over $1000 a year resulting in a net benefit of up to an average of $538 for these low-income households,” Deputy Premier Dan van Holst Pellekaan said.

Concession holders in the state receive up to $215.10 per year from the Cost of Living Concession and up to $231.41 per year towards their energy bill, totalling up to $446.51. Swapping this payment for a decade would mean the government recovers a total of $4,460 for the solar system.

Data from the pilot trial found concession households who “switch” their total concession payment for the solar system receive an average of $538 in savings over and above their existing $446.51 saving from their concessions. This is higher than the initial estimate of $57 to $525 when the scheme was launched, the government said. 

“Around 28% of households so far have opted to co-contribute to get an ever bigger solar system and even bigger bill savings,” Pellekaan added.

“This innovative more than doubles the bill savings we deliver to concession households, through solar instead of cash payments, with strong safeguards for participants.”

South Australian concession holders will now be invited to register their interest in the program with the 5,000 systems to be rolled out from August 2022.

Author: Bella Peacock


Australia passes 25GW of installed PV

Source: Australian PV Institute

From pv magazine Australia

Australia has hit a historic milestone – it has reached 25GW of installed solar capacity. As the Australian PV Institute noted on Monday, that’s more solar per capita than anywhere else in the world.

With a population of about 25 million, Australia now has nearly 1kW of PV installed per person – easily retaining its world-leading status.

By the end of 2021, there were more than 3.04 million PV installations in Australia, with a combined capacity of over 25.3GW, the Australian PV Institute noted.

Australia’s solar market has gone through surging periods of growth since the government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme commenced on April 1, 2001. Between 2001 and 2010, the solar market’s growth sat around 15%, before a period of far more rapid growth from 2010 to 2013.

After stabilizing between 2014 and 2015, the market is trending upwards, driven by residential installations. Rooftop solar today plays an important role in Australia’s energy mix, contributing 7.9% to the National Electricity Market (NEM) demand in 2021, up from 6.4% in 2020 and 5.2% in 2019.

According to figures published by the Climate Council in February, renewable energy generation in the National Electricity Market increased by almost 20% in 2021, with renewables supplying 31.4% of electricity generation last year.

In South Australia, these percentages are far more staggering. In the final days of 2021, the state ran for almost one week on renewable energy. South Australia’s 156-hour stint powered by wind, rooftop solar and utility-scale solar farms, firmed by fractional amounts of gas, was considered record-breaking for comparable grids around the world.

Percentage of dwellings with PV
Source: Australian PV Institute

Author: Bella Peacock