Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio has announced a $500,000 Community Renewables Solar Grants Initiative, which would allow Victorian lifesaving clubs to apply for grants to install solar panel systems at their premises

The initiative enables Clean Energy Council-accredited solar companies to provide and install solar panel systems on club houses. Applications close on 29 February and the system can be up to 5 kW in size – approximately 20 panels.

Ms D’Ambrosio said electricity represents a significant cost to Life Saving Victoria clubs, while touting the environmental benefits that would come out of the grant.

“By partnering with Life Saving Victoria on this program, we can help our lifesaving clubs cut their energy costs and increase renewable energy generation in Victoria

Life Saving Victoria Chief Executive Nigel Taylor echoed Ms D’Ambrosio’s thoughts.

“This is great news and allows more funds to go to what the community expects us to do – patrol our beaches and waterways to ensure the safety of all Victorians who use it

Life Saving Victoria clubs across rural and metropolitan Victoria can apply for the grants now, with the installation of solar systems expected to get underway from March 2016.

The Community Renewables Solar Grants Initiative is among a number of programs for community groups and businesses that will form part of the government’s Renewable Energy Action Plan, which will be released this year.

Late last year, the Victorian Government launched a tender process for at least 100 MW of large-scale wind and solar projects, and Ms D’Ambrosio reiterated her commitment to community renewables by launching a comprehensive guide for communities wanting to establish renewable energy projects.

Energy efficiency has also been a large focus, with the Victorian Government releasing its Energy Efficiency and Productivity Statement mid-last year.