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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

26 July 2004

Developers gain access to solar electricity rebate

Housing developers and future homeowners are the big winners following the awarding of solar energy contracts to 11 housing developers today.

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today announced that the Australian Government will offer contracts to the developers to implement clean solar electricity generation as part of display homes and housing developments.

"In the past, it has been difficult for housing developers to take advantage of the Australian Government's highly successful Photovoltaic Rebate Program (PVRP) since they were not able to know in advance that their homes would be sold to owner occupiers - a rule designed to ensure PVRP benefited homeowners," Senator Campbell said.

"After identifying this barrier to the extension of the program, the Australian Government set aside funds specifically to allow developers to tender for rebates on their display homes and innovative developments. This decision not only increases the number of solar energy units on homes throughout Australia, it also increases the opportunities for homeowners to see first-hand the cost-saving and environmental benefits of solar energy."

Builders of eight display homes and three developers of housing estates were successful in the first round of tenders sought by the Australian Greenhouse Office. Solar energy systems will be included in housing developments in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

"The future occupants of the new homes, whether owners or tenants, will benefit from reduced electricity costs in five star energy efficient homes. And they will have the ability to sell surplus electricity back to their retailer when the solar system on their roof generates more energy than the household is using," Senator Campbell said.

"The Australian Government has allocated $316,000 in rebates to builders under this round. The successful tenderers had offered to carry out system installations for up to $4 per watt of solar modules. As this is the rate at which householders are entitled to rebates under the PVRP, it was considered to be a reasonable upper limit to support developers who will pass on the benefit to home buyers and gain a marketing advantage.

"A further round of tenders will be called shortly and I encourage all housing developers to apply for rebates so the benefits of roof-mounted solar systems will be available to more homebuyers."

The Photovoltaic Rebate Program has been operating in all States and Territories since 2000. In that time, rebates have been provided to more than 5300 householders and community organisations to help them to install solar electric systems. Solar electricity generation provides benefits to householders through reduced electricity costs and to the environment through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Commonwealth of Australia