The Victorian Government yesterday announced projects sharing in $4.3 million in Climate Change Innovation grants, among which were a few relating to solar energy.

The grants are designed to support Victorian organisations in the development of innovative solutions to the challenges of climate change and foster collaboration between business, industry, academia and government.

More than 240 applications were received, with 24 selected to receive funding.

Among the recipients was Wodonga City Council, for a community solar project. Led by Renewable Albury Wodonga Energy (RAW), the City and supported by the Moreland Energy Foundation consulting team, the project seeks to establish 2MW of community solar using an innovative model that will benefit the entire community.

An important aspect of the project will be to divert some of the revenue generated to help low-income households in Wodonga with energy efficiency retrofits, driving down the area’s carbon emissions further while improving living conditions for these households.

Another recipient is Deakin University, for its “Fridge Off Grid” project. This seeks to reduce expenses, electricity consumption and emissions by removing refrigerators from the grid through development of portable solar panel and storage units. Deakin seems to be playing its cards close to its chest on this project, with little other information publicly available at this stage.

Deakin University also scored a grant for a project relating to optimising building design to achieve zero carbon housing, through energy conservation, recovery and generation.

A full list of recipients can be viewed here (PDF).

The grants are part of Andrews Labor Government $5.6 million investment in the Virtual Centre for Climate Change Innovation Program.

“We are delivering real action on climate change by helping companies across Victoria implement new ideas to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio. “This is about helping some of Victoria’s best and brightest minds achieve even greater things in combating climate change.”

Once home to one of the filthiest power stations in the world (Hazelwood) in terms of emissions, Victoria has set a goal of achieving 25 per cent renewables by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025; a goal that was enshrined into law in October last year.

Also last year, Victoria’s Climate Change Act 2017 came into effect on November 1. The Act established a long-term emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050.

Victorian households have been doing their bit to reduce emissions in the state, installing solar panels that provide the additional (and very important) bonus of slashing electricity bills. According to the most recent data from Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator, Victoria boasts more than 341,000 small scale solar power systems (<100kW capacity)