Canberra businesses would be given rebates of up to $5000 to install solar panels under a new ACT government scheme.
Under the scheme, businesses would be subsidised to install the solar panels following consultations with energy efficiency body Actsmart.
The government would then cover half the cost of the solar panels, up to $5000.
Businesses would only be able to access the rebate after they had committed financially to other energy-saving measures, such as changing lighting to more energy-efficient bulbs, as part of Actsmart’s Business Energy and Water Program.
The scheme only applies to businesses with a maximum of 20 employees and an annual electricity bill of up to $25,000.
The scheme would also apply to eligible community groups.
ACT Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Shane Rattenbury said the rebate scheme would allow for more businesses to reduce their power bill as Canberra heads into another cold winter.
“We know that Canberra households are taking up solar options in droves, doing their bit for the planet while keeping energy costs down,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“Now, more businesses and other community organisations can reap the benefits of rooftop solar.”
The launch of the rebate scheme came after a trial began in February this year, with more than 50 businesses and community organisations taking part.
Of those, 10 would receive the subsidised solar panel following the trial.
Among them was the Weston Creek Uniting Church, which had 40 solar panels installed two weeks ago.
The church’s treasurer Simon Hearder said the church signed up for the rebates after their energy bill doubled in the past two years.
“We’re hoping to halve our bill in the immediate future, and in three to four years time, we’re hoping for even less than that,” Mr Hearder said.
“The church hall is used for activities by other groups every day, and people are very pleased that we’re going ahead with the solar panels as it will lower the operating cost of the hall to everyone.”
The solar panels will be turned on at the church in the coming days.
The new solar rebate is the latest in a long line of schemes in the ACT aiming to boost renewable energy use.
The scheme for businesses and community groups is similar to a program introduced last year aimed at low-income households.
Participants in that scheme were offered a 50 per cent rebate of up to $2500 to install then solar panels, with an interest-free loan of three years for homeowners.
The ACT government was also supporting the roll out of 5000 solar battery storage systems in Canberra homes and businesses.
Those with a battery can get a rebate of $825 per kilowatt up to 30 kilowatts.
The scheme aimed to reward early adopters of the technology, with $25 million in grants available for those who installed the batteries by 2020.
A further $4 million in grants was set aside by the government to subsidise the cost of installing the batteries.
Many Canberra homes with solar panels installed are still subsidised by the government’s feed-in tariff scheme.
The scheme closed off to new participants in 2011, such was the demand, with it paying as much as 50 cents per kilowatt hour.
More than 10,000 homes signed up to the premium tariffs.
Mr Rattenbury said the new rebate scheme would put the ACT on target to meet its 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2020.
“By supporting more Canberrans to make the solar switch, we’re bringing bills down and putting our climate first,” he said.
Energy Stuff specialises in Residential Solar with emphasis on Repairs, Replacements and upgrades. We also provide new systems, battery storage, Small Commercial, Off-Grid systems and smart monitoring systems. Energy Stuff is a Clean Energy Council Member and only uses CEC accredited installers. We fully comply with the Victorian Govt. Solar Rebate Program and we are supporting clients in their applications to the new scheme starting July 1st 2019.
For further information please call us on 1300 656 205 or go to our website at http://www.energystuff.com.au