Solar Energy

03 Feb 2021

Mr ELLIS (Narungga) (14:32): I have a question I would like to pose to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister please update the house on how the Marshall Liberal government's world-leading home solar and battery programs are creating jobs for South Australians?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:32): I thank the member for Narungga for this question. He, and everybody in our team, is focused on the delivery of cleaner, more reliable and more affordable electricity for South Australians.

Doing it through increased uptake of solar energy is one of the ways that we are doing that. We are also creating jobs. As the member asked about jobs, we are creating a lot of jobs through solar installations—in fact, not only solar installations; we are creating jobs through almost all our energy policies. Interestingly, the combination of solar panels and household batteries is a tremendous way to create jobs. In fact, combining household batteries with solar panels is creating jobs with a new battery manufacturer in the northern suburbs, in Elizabeth, and a new battery manufacturer in the southern suburbs, down at Lonsdale, as well.

We are using our energy policies not only to deliver cleaner, cheaper and more reliable electricity but also to create jobs. You will see that our household battery scheme has now approximately 14,000 new household batteries, either installed or a small share of those batteries about to be installed but certainly committed.

We have another 3,000 batteries to be delivered through the expansion of the South Australian virtual power plant. We are doing everything that we possibly can to create jobs while we deliver the energy policy and the change in the energy landscape that is so necessary after 16 years of the previous government. We saw more blackouts, ever-increasing prices, and we are determined to fix that, and we are doing exactly that but not only that: we are creating jobs as well.

Another thing that we have done is create world-leading legislation and regulation—new rules—in partnership with industry, largely SAPN, so that the rollout of solar can continue, because you just can't have more and more and more solar panels doing whatever they like, each operating independently, becoming the largest combined unit of electricity generation in the state without managing that process. So much of the fault of the previous government was that they just splatter-gunned stuff out there, and they didn't ever have a coherent policy or try to manage the process.

Interestingly, when we were bringing in our world-leading rules with regard to managing the operation of solar panels—rooftop solar—as a combined entity, those opposite scoffed. In fact, in a press release the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow minister for energy said that if we did that all we would do is slow down the uptake by South Australians of solar panels. So those opposite, who created the disaster that we are fixing, are still incredibly liberal and incredibly wrong with the advice they give people on energy.

In 2018, the uptake of solar panels in South Australia was 17,000 more than the year before. In 2019, it was 23,000 more than the year before. In 2020, it was 32,000 more than the year before. While, of course, I don't have a 2021 figure yet, let me assure you that there are more and more solar panels being rolled out in South Australia, which means South Australians get cleaner, cheaper more reliable electricity, combined with our household battery scheme, combined with our grid scale storage scheme, combined with our other energy policies. We are making electricity better for South Australians and creating new jobs doing so.