Queensland is in the midst of a renewable energy investment boom and the Palaszczuk Government is delivering a suite of initiatives aimed at delivering a clear future direction for energy, Energy Minister Mark Bailey said.
Mr Bailey said the emergence of Queensland’s large-scale industry since the Palaszczuk Government was elected was nothing short of remarkable.
“No other state has more renewable projects under development than Queensland,” Mr Bailey said.
“Right now, there are 18 large scale renewable energy projects under construction, with a further four projects starting work soon.
“We expect these projects will boost investment by $3.7 billion and employ almost 3,000 workers during the construction phase – the great majority in regional centres.
“They will provide a more diversified mix of energy for Queensland, increasing the percentage of energy generated by renewables in Queensland to almost 17 per cent – more than doubling our current generation.”
Mr Bailey said rooftop solar had been the driving force behind Queensland’s renewable energy industry over the past decade with a nation-leading 30 percent of homes having solar systems installed.
“We’ve turned the Sunshine State into the Solar State,” Mr Bailey said.
“We currently have around 1800MW of solar installed across 464,000 rooftops in Queensland – combined, they are now the State’s largest power station, surpassing the 1,680MW Gladstone Power Station.
Mr Bailey also said the Palaszczuk Government is investing $21 million to improve access to solar panels and household storage batteries.
“Solar panels and batteries are a great way for households and small businesses to cut their electricity bills, but for some the upfront cost can be a challenge,” Minister Bailey said.
“We will be offering no-interest loans to help those Queenslanders who don’t have access to the upfront capital required to invest in solar and battery to help reduce their bills and be part of a clean energy future.
“Households will be able to apply for a rebate of up to $2000 on battery systems – for those taking up a no interest loan.
“Queenslanders will be able to apply from March 2018, with savings of up to $700 per year expected for those who take up solar and up to $1,600 per year off for a large family once the loan is paid off.
“Ultimately, this scheme will allow up to 20,000 households and small businesses the ability to directly take control of their own electricity consumption and address electricity affordability – with batteries extending the benefits of solar to households and businesses.
“This is also supporting the battery manufacturing industry here in Queensland – with local success stories like Redback Technologies, Redflow and Century Batteries, right here in our backyard, supporting jobs and growth.”
Mr Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government was also implementing a program aimed at removing the barriers of adopting solar in the rental market.
“In the past, rental tenants have usually been unable to access the benefits solar PV because the incentive for a landlord to invest in solar was limited,” he said.
“We will conduct a $4 million trial to assist landlords and tenants share the value of installing solar systems.
“This trial, which will be offered to 1000 houses, will provide landlords with incentives such as a no interest loans, a rebate off the upfront cost, and system monitoring equipment.
“We expect this will provide important savings, both to the landlord and tenant and help break down the current barriers.”
More information regarding the terms and conditions on the No Interest Loans Scheme and the Renter Trial will be available in the new year with applications opening in March 2018.