Queensland’s Solar For Public Housing Trial Update

The Queensland Government has announced close to 500 households in the state are now benefiting from its solar energy for public housing rollout.

Between the hundreds of thousands of public housing properties and more than 1.2+ million stand-alone homes being privately rented across the country, many Australians are being denied access to the benefits of solar power.

In the case of the latter, some landlords have discovered it can be mutually beneficial to install solar power systems on their houses for tenants, but by and large it’s still very much an untapped market. Even greater barriers exist for townhouse, flat, unit and apartment renters (and owner/occupiers of same for that matter) in using solar to slash their power bills.

The Queensland Government has been looking at ways of addressing barriers to access for renters with an initial trial of solar for public housing in the state.

Cairns And Rockhampton Solar Trial

More than 350 households in Cairns and Rockhampton now have solar panels installed on their rooftops and can expect to see savings of up to $250 a year through related power purchase agreements according to Housing Minister Mick de Brenni.

The initiative aims for 700 solar power systems to be installed on public housing in Cairns and Rockhampton, with a total capacity of around 3 megawatts. The Queensland Government says Ergon Energy is being kept busy, currently installing 30 new systems per week.

Eligible households in Cairns and Rockhampton can still apply to be a part of the trial, but they have very little time to do so – apparently, applications close today.

Lockhart River And Soon, Logan

Also part of the trial, 760 kilometres north of Cairns in the remote Indigenous community of Lockhart River, 130 households are benefiting from 200 kilowatts of rooftop solar capacity and battery installations at government and council buildings, which are providing around 10% of the community’s electricity supply and saving households on average around $100 a year.

A rollout of rooftop solar panels in Logan, around 47 kilometres south of Brisbane,  is expected to kick off in the middle of this year.

Private Rental Market Next

Overall, the trial will evaluate the costs and benefits of solar for public housing and determine if the program can be expanded to other areas across Queensland. The Palaszczuk Government says it will also turn its attention to private rentals.

“Next, we want to use the trial to help to develop a workable model so solar power can be offered to Queenslanders renting in the private market,” said Mr de Brenni.

Outside of government initiatives, private enterprises are also springing up to cater to landlords and their tenants. One of these companies is SunTenants, which SQ’s intrepid blogger Ronald will be writing about in the not-too-distant future.

As well as reducing energy costs for renters/tenants, making solar electricity more accessible to millions more Australians currently denied it will also open up new markets for the nation’s solar industry and create more related jobs, while contributing to greenhouse gas emission reduction and pushing down wholesale electricity prices; to the benefit of all.

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. I live?in pudlic housing bundaberg and my power bill is 1200 a quarter and we straggle to make ends meat but housing says you can do it at your own expence.

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