The Solar on Public Buildings program is a $9.2 million program funded by the Victorian Government to benefit volunteer managed Crown land sites across Victoria.
Solar systems are being installed on volunteer managed public buildings on Crown land in the Barwon South West, Grampians, Hume, Loddon Mallee and Port Phillip regions to reduce energy costs for volunteer committees, improve their sustainability and create jobs.
The Program began in 2020 to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on public buildings on Crown land to help reduce energy consumption, save on energy costs, and enhance the long-term sustainability of community groups.
The first round of Expressions of Interest (EOI) were offered in August 2020 to DELWP-appointed Committees of Management of Crown land reserves. The program is now open for a second round of EOIs.
Gippsland pilot program 2017-18
The Program is based on a pilot program that was run in Gippsland in 2017-18 that resulted in 69 sites receiving a solar PV system that will save volunteer Committees of Management over $260,000 per year by reducing electricity costs by 80%.
Round Two of the Program's EOI is now closed.
The Expression of Interest - Round 2 of the Program closed on Friday 24 June 2022.
But keep your eyes peeled to our emails as we will notify of future EOI's that are available.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
The program opened in July 2020 and will run for three years until June 30, 2023.
The second round of EOI closes 5pm on Friday 24 June 2022.
Your Regional Coordinator will contact the Committee of Management to schedule solar installation site inspections which will be scheduled over the coming months.
Preparation of energy audits and assessment and installation of solar PV systems will progress for the life of the program, with all sites to be completed by June 30, 2023. You may not be contacted for some months as the program schedule progresses.
- All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their EOI applications.
- For approved applications, an approved solar installer will contact the committee to inspect the site to assess the condition of the electrical system, develop a solar system design proposal and assess the network capacity for export of surplus electricity.
- The project team will consider each proposal and assess its suitability for the installation of a solar PV system or other improvements.
- Approved systems will then be installed, commissioned and grid connected by accredited contractors appointed by DELWP.
- The installer will provide training in the safe operation of the system and the monitoring device, a recommended maintenance schedule and provide manuals and warranties for the equipment installed at the site.
- An independent inspection will be carried out and a Certificate of Electrical Safety issued to confirm that the installation has been installed to the agreed and approved standard.
Assessment criteria for applications include:
- The extent of use of the facility by the community
- Social benefits like assisting isolated communities where the local hall may be the only community meeting place
- Sites used for emergency support such as community refuges, base camps
- Current energy costs and potential for savings by installation of solar energy system
- Suitability of building and electrical system for installation of solar energy system
- Capacity of committee to co-contribute funds for installation of solar energy for high energy use sites
- Network capacity for grid connection and energy export
- Committees of management that are determined to be viable for the longer term or have management plans in place
- Willingness of committees to make energy efficiency improvements
- Geographic spread across the region
The following sites are not eligible:
- Facilities managed by government entities or a Board of Management whose operational budget is mainly from government or external revenue, e.g. zoos, Phillip Island Nature Park, Alpine Resorts, Agricultural research facilities, greyhound and horse racing facilities, universities, and educational facilities.
- Sites managed by local government or their appointed committees.
- Reserves without buildings.
- Gippsland sites that were included in the pilot project 2017-19.
- Sites that are leased out to other parties where the main purpose is commercial operations.
An accredited solar installer will assess each building and review power bills and usage patterns to provide recommendations on the type and size of the solar PV system required to offset the energy needs of the facility.
The solar system will be tailored to meet the individual needs of each eligible reserve.
All equipment installed will be high quality (Tier One) products that are approved by the Australian Clean Energy Council (CEC).
No, the program will also fund other works that relate to the solar installation at the site and may include minor electrical upgrades to ensure that the switchboards and connections are safe, suitable and compliant for a solar installation.
Each site will also be assessed for the suitability for a battery installation where the benefits are clearly demonstrated by the assessment.
If major electrical upgrades are required for your location, additional funding may need to be sourced by the committee of management to finance these upgrades before the solar installation can proceed.
Minor energy efficiency upgrades that are identified as part of the site energy audit will also be considered for funding, especially if the site is assessed as not suitable for a solar PV system installation.
The program will cover any planning permit fees if a planning permit is required and DELWP will assist with approvals processes.
There is no cost for most committees of management for the solar system and its installation, nor for minor electrical upgrades required to enable safe installation for most sites.
For larger more complex sites the committee of management may be required to contribute to a proportion of the cost of project works.
Each site will have an energy audit carried out which will identify energy efficiency upgrades that should be made on the site to improve energy efficiency to further reduce energy bills which will also inform the design of the solar system to be installed.
The energy audit will also recommend if the committee of management should review their energy retailer to secure a better deal that could save additional funds.
A panel accredited contractors has been selected through a public tender process who will utilise regionally based installation teams to install the solar systems.
All contractors will be fully accredited by the Australian Clean Energy Council, experienced in the installation of solar systems and will be required to consult with the committee of management on the type of system to be installed. Only approved installers will be used for the installations to ensure high quality systems are completed.
DELWP will allocate projects to selected installers who will prepare a proposal to suit the site and arrange installation of the approved system.
Generally, no planning permit is required for installation of a solar PV system, although one may be required if:
- the site has a heritage or other overlays,
- clearing of native vegetation is required,
- other restrictions are applied by the local Council.
The DELWP Project Officer will do this check when the application is received and may be able to assist the committee to complete the permit application if required, at no cost to the committee.
Audits will be carried out on a select number of sites to ensure that solar systems have been installed correctly, to appropriate standards and is operating as designed.
Each system will have an analytical module installed that will indicate the system performance and energy usage in real time and give alerts for any faults detected via an App that is accessible by the committee of management.
The solar equipment installed will be tier one products of high quality with long warranties to minimise the need for ongoing maintenance.
Yes. Only Clean Energy Council (CEC) endorsed products and installers and only Australian Standard tier one photo voltaic solar panels will be used. The contractors on the panel will be local contractors where possible, who have experience in the installation of solar systems.
Each system has an installation workmanship warranty period of at least five years and equipment warranty of at least 10 years, so any repairs required during the warranty period will be completed free of charge.
The components of the system may have different warranty periods that will be detailed in the package of information the committee will receive on commissioning of the solar system.
The contractors appointed by DELWP will generally be regionally based and have a track record of installing solar systems in your area, enabling efficient repairs where required.
You should also be aware that the system components have a limited life and items like inverters may fail in time. The analytical system should identify these faults and the committee should budget for replacement of components once the warranty period is finished.
Yes, we can assess the existing solar equipment and upgrade or replace them if required, to ensure the reserve is getting the most benefit from an energy efficient system.
Our approved installers will meet with the committee of management to assess the condition of your electrical system and determine the best type and size of solar system for your site. When the assessment and project proposal is complete, we will give you a timeframe for when your new solar system will be installed and start generating solar energy.
The approved contractor will arrange a time with the committee to gain access to the site for the installation of the solar system. A small system will only take the contractor a couple of days to install. Larger and more complex sites will take longer to install and commission.
Installations will be scheduled over coming months and you may need to wait several months to receive a design proposal and solar installation.
The change in your energy usage and bills should be immediate, once your electrical retailer has confirmed the system is connected to the grid and operational and your meter has been reconfigured. The analytical monitoring system will show whether the system is operating correctly and generating electricity.
Once the installation is complete and connected to the grid you should take the opportunity to review the tariffs you are paying for electricity and for export of surplus energy to the grid. Contact your energy retailer and compare with other energy providers.
Check the State Government’s Energy Compare website to easily compare retailers, here: https://compare.energy.vic.gov.au/
We will install a solar analytics module at your site to give you and DELWP the ability to see live data including when the solar system is covering your usage and when it isn’t. The monitoring system will also identify any faults with the system and alert the committee of management contact via email.
This will start monitoring the electrical system as soon as it is turned on and can be accessed via an App on your smart phone or computer.
The committee of management will receive a briefing from the installer for the operation of the system, to understand the monitoring system, how to maximise the advantages from the solar system and to provide warranties and operating instructions.
The installer will be the contact for system maintenance during the warranty period. The monitoring system will alert the committee when the system is not operating as designed. Components have varying warranty periods that will be explained by the installer, with a minimum of five years.
Page last updated: 15/07/22