9 July 2021

NSW low-income households could be eligible for a free solar system

| Lottie Twyford
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solar system being installed

Many low-income homes on the South Coast could now benefit from a solar system. Photo: SolarHub.

Pensioners and veterans on NSW South Coast are encouraged to consider opting in to a State Government scheme which could see them getting a solar system installed completely free of charge.

The NSW Solar for Low Income Households program, which the Eurobodalla Shire Council says aims to help the community achieve both lower emissions and energy bills, has already led to the installation of more than 115 home solar systems across the region alone.

According to the NSW Government, a maximum of 3000 households in selected regions will be able to take part in the current trial.

The scheme allows eligible pensioners and veteran homeowners to have a three kilowatt solar system installed free of charge, with the condition being that you must agree not to claim the low income electricity bill rebate for 10 years.

The solar system can cut household electricity bill by up to $600 each year. This is up to twice as much as the annual low income household rebate of $285.

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Initially, eligible customers are to be provided with a three kilowatt system. They can choose to upsize to a maximum of six kilowatts. The trial program will cover the costs for the initial three kilowatt solar system and installation. Then, the homeowner would pay the costs associated with upsizing for extra solar PC capacity.

SolarHub is the approved installer for the Solar for Low Income Households trial program in the South Coast region, including in the Eurobodalla Shire Council and Bega Valley Council, and CEO Benn Masters says the program is a great one and uptake has been steady.

“It can cost people anywhere between five and seven thousand dollars to install a new solar system, which is a significant outlay even when you know you’re going to save money in the long run.

“Even borrowing that amount is out of reach for many people and so it’s simply not an option,” he said.

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Mr Masters is adamant that programs such as these are important in ensuring fair and equitable access to solar technology and says having a solar system on the roof can actually go a long way to helping people who are struggling month to month to pay the bills.

In order to roll out the program smoothly, SolarHub have worked closely with both the Eurobodalla Shire Council and Bega Valley Shire Council as well as the NSW Government.

According to Mr Masters, the fact that people have to apply through the NSW Government website has helped legitimise the incentive and persuade people who may otherwise be reluctant or sceptical of the benefits or reliability of solar to take the leap.

“But the main issue has been getting the word out about this offer as many eligible homeowners are not online, so we have had to use a variety of marketing methods to reach those people.”

The NSW Solar for Low Income Households program is currently only open to residents living in five regions of the state who receive the Low Income Household Rebate, own their home and hold a valid Pensioner Concession Card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card.

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JEAN STEWART5:42 pm 09 Jul 21

What regions are included?

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