By Mitchell Clarke
Pakenham and Berwick are two of the most popular suburbs across the state for solar panel installations, according to applications for the State Government’s Solar Homes program.
More than 1500 homes across the two suburbs received approved applications for rebated solar panels, batteries and hot water systems.
The Solar Homes program aims to reduce energy bills for families who need it most, with 69 percent of all rebates going to households with incomes less than $105,00, and at least 10 percent to those earning less than $16,000 a year.
And the program has worked wonders for Tania, who lives on a disability pension and rents a three bedroom house in Pakenham.
Her landlord Richard applied for a rebate for rooftop solar on the property after receiving a rebate on his own home earlier in the year.
“As a tenant, it’s a win-win all round,” Tania said.
“I’ve noticed my usage is less than half, I’ve been smarter with the way I use my power, now I’m quite proactive.
“I’ve had two air conditioners and the washing machine going and I haven’t touched the grid, it’s really good.”
Over six months, Tania has reportedly saved $700.
Neighbouring suburbs Clyde North and Cranbourne East were also ranked in the top 10 most popular suburbs for the program.
“The take up of solar rebates has been incredible – particularly across Melbourne’s outer suburbs and right across regional Victoria,” Bass MP Jordan Crugnale said.
The State Government said it was “unsurprising” that households in Pakenham and Berwick, both located in Melbourne’s urban fringe, have utilised the rebate program.
“Solar Homes is saving families hundreds of dollars on their energy bills – which is great for all Victorians, helping with the cost of living,” Solar Homes Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said.
“Through Solar Homes and our ambitious renewable energy targets, we’re creating jobs, boosting energy supply, driving down emissions and slashing energy bills for Victorians.”
State-wide, more than 61,700 solar systems have now been installed and $124.6 million in solar rebates have been paid out, 41 percent of the applications stem from households across rural and regional Victoria.
The solar households have added more than 300 megawatts (MW) of new capacity to the grid.