Commercial Solar System for Tasmanian Schools

Tasmania’s election over the weekend shaped up as a boon for commercial solar – with both Labor and Liberal promising support for all government schools in the state to benefit from solar power and a Renewable Energy Schools program.

Tassie’s Renewable Energy Schools program

According to SolarQuotes, there are 213 government schools in Tasmania – not sure how many of them will have solar systems, but it appears that whether Labor or Liberal end up winning the state election in Tasmania, we’ll be seeing a rapid uptake of commercial solar system installation for Tasmanian Schools.

Last week Tasmanian Labor leader Rebecca White announced that her government will create a $5 million Solar Schools Fund if they come into power (we should hear results on the election this week). The major difference between Labor and Liberal’s program is that under Labor, the money schools are able to save on their electricity bills will be kept by the school. Labor’s press release hasn’t mentioned the amount of schools who will get the solar systems,  but did mention that each beneficiary school could save around $22,000 a year by using the Renewable Energy Schools program.

Rebecca White has also discussed the ‘solar tax’ the AEMC proposed earlier this year – that “the controversial new ‘solar tax’ proposed by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) will further hit the value of feed-in tariffs with people set to be charged for exporting solar power to the grid.”

“Solar owners have been badly let down by the Liberals and have seen the value of their investment crumble after the feed-in tariffs were cut,” said White, who did fail to mention that Tasmania already have 100% renewable energy so it’d be quite the act of benevolence to keep the tariffs the same as they were. Regardless of the tired political point scoring, it looks like Tasmanian residents will certainly benefit substantially whomever ends up in power, and it’s safe to assume that battery storage will be a huge part of any further plans.

In other news, the Green party have offered $31m for rooftop solar installation subsidies.

If you’re interested in a complete list of the election promises from all sides please click here.

Commercial Solar System for Tasmanian Schools
Commercial Solar System for Tasmanian Schools (source: Tasmanian Labor Party)

Tasmanian Liberal Party Renewable Energy Promises:

A Majority Liberal Government will:

  • Continue to deliver our goal to become a renewable energy powerhouse by delivering a $735 million investment into Tasmania’s renewable energy and hydrogen initiatives.
  • Deliver up to 250 construction jobs and invest $700 million into the redevelopment of the Tarraleah power station, subject to the provision of up to $65 million in funding and an underwriting agreement from the Australian Government for this project.
  • Establish Bell Bay as one of the nation’s recognised Hydrogen Hubs, investing an additional $100 000 in the Tasmanian Hydrogen technology cluster initiative led by the Bell Bay Advanced Manufacturing Zone to support this exciting opportunity.
  • Commit, again, that a re-elected Majority Liberal government will not sell or privatise Hydro Tasmania, including Momentum Energy, Entura Consulting or the Tamar Valley Power Station.
  • Help reduce the cost of living and the cost of doing business by making it cheaper to become energy efficient, including:
    • Re-launching a $30M over 2 years Tasmanian Energy Efficiency Loans Scheme program
    • Boosting the No Interest Loan Scheme’s Energy Saver Loan and Subsidy Scheme with funding of $2 million
    • Accelerating the rollout of advanced meters by 2026, in line with national electricity laws, to empower energy consumers with the information to manage their energy costs.
    • Providing an additional $5 million* to lower headworks costs for new subdivisions on top of $10 million already committed.
    • A $10 million* Solar Power sports Club no interest loan scheme.
    • $5 million* to deliver a Renewable Energy Schools program.

Solar loans and rebates in Tasmania

Tasmanian Labor have also announced $20 million to fund solar loans of up to $15,000 for households and businesses so they can buy batteries or solar systems. The loans will run over a ten year period, and, according to Labor, the solar loans will run interest free for the first three years, then with “low” interest for the remaining seven. Since money is cheap right now it’s a fantastic time for such a program and we’re really excited to see how it’s going to pan out in practice.

Last week Redflow CEO Simon Hackett’s Tasmanian sheep farm has installed a 280kWh Redflow ZBM2 based rural microgrid in Tasmania.