Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (13:18): My constituency question is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Lily D’Ambrosio.
Matthew Jenkins from Brunswick wrote to me outlining the trouble he and his wife have had accessing the solar panel rebate scheme. Matthew and his wife own an apartment in Manallack Street in Brunswick. There are eight apartments in the building, and it is set up on an owners corporation model.
Matthew believes that he is able to persuade the other owners to agree to invest in solar panels. However, that support would rely on accessing the solar rebate scheme, and under the current laws owners corporations are ineligible to access the scheme.
Matthew understands that there are significant challenges and complexities in responsiveness and flexibility for properties which form part of a larger owners corporation development. However, the same is not necessarily true for smaller set-ups.
My question to the minister is: will her department broaden the scheme to include small owners corporation schemes such as Matthew’s?
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Constituency question 15/9/20
Ms D’AMBROSIO (Mill Park—Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes):
The Victorian Government’s landmark $1.3 billion Solar Homes Program is making it easier for families from across Victoria to slash their energy bills by installing solar PV, a solar battery or a solar hot water system, including those living in the Northern Metropolitan Region.
We have had tremendous interest in the program since it opened in August 2018, with more than 100,000 households across Victoria installing a rebated solar system under the Solar Homes Program.
Victorians who own property as part of an Owners Corporation can access a Solar Homes rebate. To do so, a prospective applicant can apply on an individual basis. An applicant must also demonstrate that they meet the existing Solar Homes Program eligibility criteria relating to taxable income, property value, and prior participation in the program.
A prospective applicant to the Program would need to seek approval from the Owners Corporation in order to install a solar system.
I encourage Mr Jenkins to contact Solar Victoria in order to discuss his circumstances and his eligibility to apply for a rebate. Mr Jenkin’s neighbours may also be eligible to participate by applying for a rebate individually.
The Solar Homes program will continue to make sure that households in the Northern Metropolitan Region and across the state are able to get the benefits of solar.