New appointments to Industry and Consumer Reference Group

Solar Victoria’s key advisory body, the Industry and Consumer Reference Group (ICRG), has a new chair and five new members to continue guiding Victoria’s nation-leading solar industry.

Published:
Thursday, 3 August 2023 at 6:06 am

Ahead of the first meeting of the new-look ICRG today, Solar Victoria Stan Krpan announced South East Water Managing Director Lara Olsen has been appointed independent chair, following an expression of interest process.

She takes over from inaugural chair Ivor Frischknecht after nearly four years.

Ms Olsen brings extensive renewables and energy industry experience to the role, with previous high-level positions at Tesla Energy in the US and Australia, CitiPower and Powercor, and at the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The work of the ICRG helps Solar Victoria continuously enhance its programs, while supporting the sustainable development of the solar industry in Victoria through the continued implementation of the Government’s flagship $1.3 billion Solar Homes Program.

The 15-member group represents a diverse range of industry, business and consumer interests from both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Under the chairmanship of Mr Frischknecht, the ICRG has played a key role in helping the Solar Homes Program elevate Victoria to the national leader in industry safety and quality standards, while enhancing consumer protections.

The group has also been instrumental in helping Solar Victoria support 5500 clean energy jobs over five years, while providing guidance for program enhancements such as the expansion of solar PV rebate eligibility to homes under construction, the digitisation of hot water rebates and the introduction of the solar battery stream.

ICRG meets bi-monthly to provide ongoing advice to Solar Victoria and to the Minister for Energy and Resources on safety, standards and quality, consumer protections, technology requirements, product stewardship, future grid requirements, skills and workforce development and boosting industry diversity.

In addition to Ms Olsen, there are five new ICRG appointments in 2023, including organisation representative Stephanie Tonkin of the Consumer Action Law Centre; industry representatives Simon Duncan, of SJD Homes and Six Star Plus Solar, Anthony Kurta, of Solar Run and Darren Gladman, of energy software company SwitchDin; and consumer advocate Tettina Hogarth-Clarke.

Representing large and small businesses the inclusion of SwitchDin and SJD Homes reflects the growing significance of electrification of Victorian homes.

For the full list of ICRG members, go to solar.vic.gov.au/industry-and-consumer-reference-group

Quotes attributable to Solar Victoria CEO Stan Krpan.

“Since 2018, the Solar Homes Program has delivered cheaper, cleaner energy to more than 250,000 Victorian homes, continuously evolving over time with important input from the ICRG.”

“Thanks in no small part to advice of the group, Solar Victoria has become a trusted name in industry safety and quality, consumer protection and clean energy job support and has provided an important platform to engage on issues affecting the solar industry – some of which have national significance.”

"I thank our outgoing chair Ivor Frischknecht for his leadership, along with all our outgoing ICRG members for their valuable contributions, and warmly welcome Lara Olsen and all our new members.”

“We are looking forward to hearing new perspectives with the broadening of organisations represented on the ICRG, particularly regarding digital automation of consumer energy resources and volume home builders, which reflect the growing importance of electrification and the importance of consumer energy literacy.”

Quotes attributable to incoming ICRG Chair, Lara Olsen.

"Solar Victoria is a key component in delivering on Victoria’s renewable future – enabling customers to install renewable technologies and supporting the growth and development of the clean energy industry.”

“I’m delighted to be chairing and working with the Industry and Consumer Reference Group to continue to provide the advice of industry and the consumer to Solar Victoria.”

Updated