SA Concession Holders To Be Offered Solar Power Swap

Switch To Solar - South Australian Government

Eligible concession holders in South Australia will be offered a shiny new free solar power system under a $4.25 million Marshall Government program that involves a swap.

Currently, eligible ConcessionsSA customers  receive up to $215.10 per year from the Cost of Living Concession and up to $231.41 per year towards their energy bills – a total of $446.51. The “Switch To Solar” program involves swapping these concession payments for ten years to get a solar system, which the SA Government says will reduce participants’ electricity bills by up to $890 each year.

“Our new Switch to Solar pilot is a win-win for everyone,” said Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink. “Not only is the Government injecting money into the economy and supporting vital jobs through the purchase of 1000 new solar panels, our concession holders will get big bill savings off their energy bills.”

By “1,000 new solar panels”, Minister Lensink meant 1,000 *systems*.

Aside from that, there’s not a lot of information publicly available yet. A search of the DHS website turned up 0 results for solar and there’s nothing I could find elsewhere across SA.gov.au about the Switch to Solar pilot.  But here’s what information there is, along with some assumptions and guesses.

Who Will Be Eligible?

Home owners without existing solar systems who are concession holders in the following areas:

  • Athelstone
  • Banksia Park
  • Campbelltown
  • Dernancourt
  • Felixstow
  • Highbury
  • Holden Hill
  • Hope Valley
  • Modbury
  • Modbury Heights
  • Modbury North
  • Newton
  • Paradise
  • Redwood Park
  • Tea Tree Gully
  • Vista
  • Goolwa
  • Hindmarsh Island
  • Ridgehaven

It appears this program may be a case of “don’t call us, we’ll call you”; i.e. eligible households will be contacted.

How Big Are The Systems?

That’s not clear – but they have been noted in related documentation as “medium to large rooftop solar systems”.

$4.25 million / 1,000 systems = around $4,250 each, but then there will be costs involved with administering the program. Let’s say that leaves an average of $4,000, which will buy a decent quality, competently installed 4kW system – but some systems may be smaller or larger depending on the household’s circumstances. No doubt the Marshall Government will want good bang for buck, but also good quality systems installed.

Who Is Installing The Systems?

That hasn’t been decided yet – a competitive tender process is being undertaken via the SA Tenders and Contracts website. Expressions of interest close on February 26, so installers interested in lodging an EOI will need to get their skates on.

Are The Electricity Bill Savings Realistic?

Based on the SolarQuotes’ solar calculator default settings for 4kW systems installed in Adelaide and assuming participants receive the full benefits of the systems, the SA Government’s estimated savings seem to be on the conservative side. But each household’s mileage will vary based on their installation scenario and energy consumption profile.

As mentioned, there is still a lot of missing information. For example, perhaps savings will be capped at the $890 annually, with the rest going back to the South Australian Government. Smart meters may also need to be installed, electricity retailer changed etc. etc. etc. – there are many unknowns at this stage.

Still, it sounds like this could benefit a bunch of households that may not otherwise be able to go solar.

A similar scheme was launched in New South Wales a couple of years ago involving eligible low-income households in selected regions of the state being able to swap their Low Income Household Rebate for ten years for a solar power system. We haven’t heard much more about it, but it appears the program is still operating and accepting new applications.

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.

Comments

  1. Munro Burchall says

    $4.25 million divided by 1000 gives $4250; but how should we account for the $446 times 10 years times 1000 households = $4.46 million of savings on concessions?

    Also, what happens if people cease to qualify for the concession (earn too much) in the 10 year period; or if they die?

  2. Munro,

    If you are no longer eligible for the concession at that particular property location, for whatever reason, then obviously the concession will stop. It seems very likely, you’d then have to re-apply IF you become eligible again at some future point

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