This article first appeared in the Courier Mail on 23/10/2018.

There has been a steady increase in solar panel systems installed on Ballarat households in the past 12 months, according to Clean Energy Regulator statistics.

A Solar Victoria spokesperson says this rate is likely to increase as the state government solar rebates program continues

Households with a joint income of less than $180,000 per year can now claim back half the cost of solar panels, up to $2,225. The rebates are only available to owner-occupiers with homes valued at less than $3 million dollars.

The average household is expected to save up to $890 per year on their energy bills with a 4kw system, Solar Victoria reveals. The Sustainability Victoria body says those receiving a rebate can expect to repay the cost of the solar panels through savings in about five years.

What many people don’t realise is Ballarat is a good area for solar generation.

David Sanders, Smart Options

David Sanders, managing director of Ballarat solar provider Smart Options, said the government rebate scheme was improving accessibility to solar for all households.

“If people are eligible for rebate they are probably paying around $4000 to $4500 up front after the $2,225 return, but the system will save them up to $2000 a year over the next 15 to 20 years. That is a massive saving,” he said.

An average of 62 small generating solar PV panel systems were installed in Ballarat each month over the past 12 months, according to Clean Energy Regulator data.

The highest number of installations were in July 2018 with 76 units set up in households.

Mr Sanders said many people didn’t realise solar panels performed well in Ballarat.

“Ballarat is a good area for solar generation because of low ambient temperature and high solar radiation. Quite often systems here will over perform what they will up north,” he said.

“Panels are rated at 25 degrees celsius. For every one degree below 25 the performance improves by half a percent. Panels will produce up to 110 per cent of their performance on colder days with sunshine.”

Clean Energy Regulator data also reveals households have been installing bigger solar PV systems throughout the past 18 months.

Mr Sanders said the cost of solar panels has decreased in recent years but the cost of installation was going up, making it better value to install a bigger system.

“It costs the same amount of money to put 3kw on house as 5kw,” he said.

Last year was the biggest year on record for solar installations across Australia, according to Solar Victoria.

More than 1.8 million homes across Australia are now generating their own power from the sun, a world- leading figure per capita.

The state government rebates are available to those eligible for systems installed from August 19 2019 to June 30 2019.

Visit solar.vic.gov.au for information.

Cities Power Partnership  Climate Council

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