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Vic govt's Solar Homes Plan, good news for Ripon and climate action

Community-driven environment group Friends of the Earth have welcomed the Andrews government's Solar Homes Plan to rollout solar panels on 650,000 homes across Victoria.

The group—which has been working with community members in the Central Goldfields, Northern Grampians, and Ararat who are concerned about climate change impacts—have lauded the initiative for cutting power bills and the emissions causing climate change. Participating households are expected to save $800 on power bills and the initiative will cut Victoria's emissions by four million tonnes.

"The Andrews government's Solar Homes Plan is an opportunity for people in Maryborough, Stawell, Ararat and surrounding regions to save on their power bills while helping to tackle climate change," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth's spokesperson.

"Maryborough and the Central Goldfields region, for example, is already seeing the impacts of climate change having experienced the driest July on record in 2017 and record-breaking heat in April this year. Victoria saw record-breaking heat in April this year and we've seen bushfires in East Gippsland."

"The Andrews government's solar rollout will contribute towards Victoria meeting its legislated target of zero net emissions by 2050."

Friends of the Earth expects the Solar Homes Plan to see towns in the state electorate of Ripon build on their strong solar uptake.

Data from the Australian Photovoltaic Institute shows some 1,541 dwellings in the Central Goldfields region have installed solar power, representing 23.7 percent of homes in the district. In the Ararat Rural City, 16.3 percent of homes (843 dwellings) have gone solar. And in Stawell and the Northern Grampians there are 1,095 dwellings (18.9 percent of homes) with solar panels.  

The marginal state electorate of Ripon has an impressive 6,136 dwellings with solar power. This represents 20.8 percent of homes in the seat.

"Community members who have installed solar power can be proud of their efforts to tackle climate change," said Leigh Ewbank.

"Is the member for Ripon, Liberal Louise Staley, and Labor challenger, Sarah De Santis, proud of the region's solar champions?"

Friends of the Earth will be encouraging all political parties to commit to positive climate change policies such as a $100 million Victorian Climate Change Action Fund in the lead up to the November 24 state election.



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