New Solar Subsidy For Canberra’s Low-Income Households

Canberra solar rebate

Solar panel image: B137,CC BY-SA 4.0

A new program in the ACT is providing financial support to help some low-income households slash their electricity costs through installing solar panels.

Announced yesterday, the program provides participants a subsidy of up to 60% on solar power system supply and installation, plus covers switchboard upgrades and smart meters if required. Participants will also be able to access an interest free loan on the balance, to be repaid over three years.

To be eligible, home owner occupiers will need to be Australian Government pensioner concession card holders. All applicants will also be subject to a cost benefit analysis to determine suitability.

“Actsmart’s solar for low income households program will offer greater assistance to households most in need by helping bring down their energy costs – with estimated savings of $300 to $900 a year,” said  ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury.

The financial support offered is in addition to Australia’s major “solar rebate“, a subsidy that can reduce the up-front cost of solar panels by thousands of dollars.

There isn’t much more detail available at this point in time on the ACT program. Households interested in participating should contact the Actsmart Household team on 13 22 81 or via email at [email protected] for further information.

As well as helping households take more control over their energy costs, the solar panels installed under the program will help the ACT towards its renewable energy aspirations.

The ACT consumes approximately 2,900,000 megawatt hours of electricity a year. As recently as 2014-15, around 80% of this energy was supplied from non-renewable sources, generating 2.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

The ACT Government has set a target of sourcing 100% of the Territory’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, with rooftop solar to play a significant role.

According to the Government, the cost of achieving the 100% target is expected to peak at around $5.50 per household per week in 2020.

Clean Energy Regulator data indicates there are currently approximately 18,894 small-scale solar power systems in Canberra and throughout the ACT.

With regard to large-scale PV, Canberra boasts a “solar highway” – a 50 kilometre stretch of road running from Majura Parkway in Canberra’s north to the Monaro Highway in the south, taking travelers past four solar farms. The facilities are Williamsdale (11MW), Mt Majura (2.3MW), Mugga Lane (13MW) and Royalla (20MW).

Royalla Solar Farm, the ACT’s first large-scale PV facility, was commissioned in late August 2014. At the time of its opening, it was the largest solar installation in Australia.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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