Greens launch 'game-changing' plan to give renters and apartment-dwellers access to solar


The Victorian Greens have launched a game-changing plan to unlock solar power for Victorian renters and apartment owner-occupiers, ahead of the upcoming state election.

The Greens say their plan would help reduce cost-of-living pressures by driving down household energy bills, and help the state take stronger action against climate change.

Under the plan, Victorian renters would be eligible for a $1,000 grant to buy into solar gardens.

This means people who rent could buy a solar panel on a nearby building, such as a train station or library, and the energy it creates would be credited to their bill. 

If they then moved, they would still own the panel and the credit would move with them.

The Greens’ plan would also see Victorian Labor’s Solar Homes program expanded to allow apartment owner-occupiers to access solar power.

While Labor has made some welcome investments in renewable energy, its Solar Homes Program has fallen short of providing access to all Victorians.  

Labor’s current scheme locks out people in apartments who want to chip in with their neighbours to buy a shared solar system, stopping many apartment buildings from hooking up to solar. The Greens’ plan would make shared apartment solar systems eligible for Solar Homes grants.

The Greens want to make solar accessible for all, to help drive down both energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions.

Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell, said the soaring cost-of-living and the growing threat of climate change were going to be key issues for Victorian voters on election day.

The grants being proposed by the Greens would be funded via the party’s previously announced commitment to invest $10 billion dollars in renewable energy. 

Quotes attributable to Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:

“Solar power shouldn’t just be for Victorians who can afford to own their home, or people who live in stand-alone homes. Solar should be available to renters and apartment-dwellers too.

“Around 50 per cent of people in the inner city rent their homes, and many, many people live in apartments. They shouldn’t be locked out of the benefits of solar panels - but under the current Labor Government rules they cannot access solar subsidies the same way stand-alone homeowners can.

“If the next Government is serious about tackling the climate crisis, it needs to make sure renters and apartment-dwellers can also access solar, to help drive down greenhouse gas emissions and move Victoria towards 100 per cent renewable energy.

“The Greens have heard from many apartment owners who are being blocked from accessing solar rebates under the Labor Government’s solar homes program because of a ridiculous rule that prevents the use of shared systems. Labor knows about this issue and should have fixed it a long time ago.

“Ensuring every Victorian has access to solar, whether they rent or live in an apartment, would drive down energy bills at a time when many are feeling the weight of cost-of-living pressures. It’s a win-win."