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Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Page: 4632


Senator Milne asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, upon notice, on 26 May 2009:

(1)   Is it the case that body corporates are not eligible to receive any Federal Government solar rebate funding for the installation of solar panels for energy use in common areas; if so: (a) why do they not meet established eligibility criteria; and (b) why have they been excluded.

(2)   Does the Government support body corporates adopting solar technology in common areas; if so, what mechanisms and/or initiatives are in place to demonstrate such a commitment; if not, why not.

(3)   Given that a home owner and/or landlord may apply for solar rebate funding under a variety of initiatives, including the Solar Homes and Communities Plan and that, in contrast, body corporate unit owners are required to pay part of electricity costs to body corporates, who in turn are ineligible themselves for a rebate for the installation of solar panels for energy use in common areas, will the Government reconsider the eligibility of body corporates for solar rebate funding; if not, why not.


Senator Wong (Minister for Climate Change and Water) —The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   Yes. Body corporates were not eligible for a rebate under the Solar Homes and Communities Plan as a rebate would only be paid to owner occupiers who own the entire system. The program guidelines state: “Owner occupied houses and owner occupied units within a body corporate may be principal places of residence. An owner of a unit within an existing multi-unit development may be eligible for a rebate where he or she is the owner occupier of an individual unit and will be the owner of the entire photovoltaic system.” The eligibility criteria excluded body corporates, as the Solar Homes and Communities Plan was primarily aimed at assisting individual households with the upfront cost of solar photovoltaic ownership.

(2)   Yes. The Government supports the installation of photovoltaic systems and is providing ongoing support through the Renewable Energy Target scheme.

(3)   No, as the Solar Homes and Communities Plan is no longer accepting applications. Under the Renewable Energy Target, if the body corporate is a legal person and is the owner of the Small Generation Unit at the time it is still installed, they are eligible to create Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) or assign the RECs to a Registered Agent. If the body corporate is not a legal person, a legal person must act on behalf of the body corporate to be eligible to create RECs or assign the RECs to a Registered Agent.