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Solar systems for free – trial for low income households on the South Coast

Alex Rea 18 November 2019
Harness the power of the sun

Harness the power of the sun. Photo: Alex Rea.

For many, with all the best intentions in the world, getting solar on your rooftop is just too much of a stretch.

The need to move to renewables has been brought sharply into focus with record temperatures across the country and bushfires burning out of control.

However now, the South Coast has been included in a trail of up to 3,000 low income households to be eligible for a free rooftop solar system.

With the installation worth $4,000, the trial will also shave more than $300 a year off your energy bills.

Energy Minister Matt Kean announced the scheme late last month and said the NSW Government has committed $15 million to reduce the impact of high energy prices, particularly for vulnerable low-income households.

Solar-panels being installed. Photo: NSW OEH.

“We are committed to reducing emissions and acting on climate change, while also ensuring affordable and reliable energy for the people of NSW,” Mr Kean said.

“In addition to potential bill savings, the addition of up to 3,000 more rooftop solar systems will add more than 8 megawatts of renewable capacity to help support a clean, affordable and reliable electricity grid” Mr Kean said.

The Solar for Low Income Households Trial is available in five regions – Central Coast, North Coast, South Coast, Sydney-South and the Illawarra-Shoalhaven – providing eligible households with a 3-kilowatt rooftop solar system.

Eligible applicants must meet the criteria which includes having their own home in a selected region, having a valid Pensioner Concession Card or a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card, and opting out of the Low Income Household Rebate for 10 years.

Mr Kean said, “Through the Solar for Low Income Households Trial we will unlock the environmental and economic benefits of clean energy for more homes in NSW.”

Three installers are responsible for supplying and installing the solar systems across the five regions: North Coast – SAE Group; Central Coast, Sydney-South and Illawarra-Shoalhaven – Origin Energy; and South Coast – SolarHub.

The Solar for Low Income Households Scheme will provide free panels for 3000 homes. Photo: Supplied.

From Depot Beach to Boydtown, postcodes on the South Coast of NSW to be eligible for the trial are 2536, 2537, 2545, 2546, 2548, 2549, 2550 and 2551.

To access the trial, you apply online and your details are passed on to the solar installer, who will assess your house, and organises your contract and installation.

More information and advice on how to apply can be found at https://energysaver.nsw.gov.au/solar-low-income-households

The NSW Government also has funding for community-led adaptation projects “that deliver positive social, environmental and economic outcomes, while supporting community participation, preparation and resilience to climate change impacts.”

The Climate Change Fund is providing $600,000 in 1 round of grants, with grants between $10,000 and $30,000 available for individual projects.

Applications are open from now until 31 January 2020.

More information about the Climate Change Fund can be found at https://climatechange.environment.nsw.gov.au/adapting-to-climate-change/community-grants

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