Posted on 21. Jul, 2010 in Greening Victoria

Victoria is set to become Australia’s solar state through a plan to increase Victoria’s electricity supply from large scale-solar power to five per cent by 2020, Premier John Brumby announced today.

Mr Brumby visited Silex’s solar test facility in Bridgewater with Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings and said the five per cent target was Australia’s most ambitious solar commitment and would be backed by the nation’s first feed-in tariff for large-scale solar.

“This commitment to a sustainable future for Victoria should see the establishment of between five and 10 large solar plants across regional Victoria,” Mr Brumby said.

“As a result of this initiative, Victoria will have up to 25 per cent of its power coming from renewable energy by 2020.”

“This initiative will also provide new economic opportunities in regional Victoria, generating between $1.5 and $2 billion in new solar investment in Victoria.”

Mr Brumby said increasing Victoria’s use of solar power to five per cent by 2020 would require a number of investments above and beyond the Commonwealth’s Renewable Energy Target.

“This means not just clean, green energy for Victoria, but lower emissions for all of Australia – making us Australia’s solar state and further confirming Victoria as the country’s leader in tackling climate change,” Mr Brumby said.

“In Victoria we have ambitious targets and we also have the right plans in place to deliver them, providing the most comprehensive program of support for small, medium and large solar technologies to turn to solar power.

“The feed-in tariff will assist in the take up of solar power by paying large-scale facilities extra money for feeding the renewable power they generate back into the grid above what they would normally get on the energy market.

“To show we’re serious about the 2020 goal, we have set an interim target of generating 500GWh of solar power by 2014.

“This is in addition to power generated by the Silex facility and represents a massive increase on the present level of solar generation Australia-wide and is enough to power more than 90,000 homes.”

Mr Brumby said the Victorian Government continued to support an emission trading scheme but was determined to push forward now to secure new clean energy investment.

“Across the world there are huge investments to be made in clean technologies and we want Victoria to be a leader,” he said.

“A price on carbon is necessary to deliver the very deep reductions in emissions we need, but we need to forge ahead and tackle climate change through measures such as these.”

Mr Jennings said that the Brumby Labor Government’s comprehensive plan to make Victoria the solar state would also include action to support medium scale solar energy.

“Think of all the roof space on some of the large suburban shopping centres – we see these places as offering enormous potential for broad-scale solar power generation,” Mr Jennings said

“Generating their own electricity means businesses will not only help reduce emissions but they will save money on their bottom line – a win for business and the environment.”

Rural and Regional Development Minister Jacinta Allan said Victoria had already achieved great success in establishing solar in households through the Victorian Premium Solar Feed-in Tariff.

“These initiatives will build on the good work and will be a significant source of jobs and investment in regional Victoria,” Ms Allan said.

“I will be working closely with energy companies, local government, environment and industry groups to maximise the job opportunities – particularly in regional Victoria – that will flow from these initiatives.”

Mr Brumby said a Medium Scale Working Group would be established to advise on what type of actions are needed to drive medium-scale solar power.

“This working group will be chaired by Tony Wood, the Director of Clean Energy Program in Australia for the Clinton Climate Initiative.

The solar initiatives announced today will complete a three-pronged approach to meeting the five per cent solar target through driving investment in small, medium and large scale generation, coupled with established initiatives including:

  • The Brumby Labor Government’s $50 million contribution towards the $450 million large-scale solar project being delivered by Silex, as well as the Premium Feed-in Tariff for Households; and
  • The Brumby Labor Government’s contribution of $100 million towards a Victorian Solar Flagships bid and the rollout of 10 projects from the $5 million Solar Hubs program announced in the Jobs For The Future Economy: Green Jobs Action Plan.


The solar initiative released today follows the Victorian Government’s announcement to double the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target to cut Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions by 5.4 million tonnes a year.

Mr Brumby said these new measures and today’s nation-leading commitment to solar energy were part of the Victorian Government’s landmark Climate Change White Paper to be released later this month.

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