SunnySavers – QLD’s Solar On Public Housing Trial Kicking Off

SunnySavers - solar power systems for public houses

Image : Colmkay

Starting next week, some of up to 2,300 households in Cairns and Rockhampton will be invited to participate in a trial putting solar panels on public housing.

Solar power systems, digital meters and an online portal service will be provided at no cost, with the tenants purchasing the electricity generated by the solar panels at a cheaper cost than power from the mains grid.

According to Treasurer and Acting Minister for Energy Curtis Pitt, participants in will be able to save up to $250 a year through the program.

Findings from the trial could ultimately benefit other households in Queensland.

“This trial will also provide a better understanding of how people living in private rental housing might be assisted to gain access to household solar, creating new opportunities for every Queenslander to enjoy cheaper electricity,” said Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni.

The trial was originally announced in March this year and will go beyond Cairns and Rockhampton. In total, up to six megawatts of solar capacity will be installed on up to 4000 detached government-owned dwellings across the state under SunnySavers.

Queensland Council of Social Service Chief Executive Officer Mark Henley said low-income households are being increasingly affected by rising power bills.

“This innovative trial will relieve electricity costs for some of those who need it most.”

On a related note, earlier this week we reported 800,000 households in social housing in the UK will have solar panels installed free of charge over the next five years. As with the Queensland trial, the electricity generated in the UK programme will be purchased by tenants at below retail-market prices.

North Queensland Clean Energy Hub Update

In other renewables news out of Queensland, the Government yesterday said the expression of interest process for the proposed North Queensland Clean Energy Hub is closing today

Part of the $386 million Powering North Queensland Plan, the proposed hub will involve establishing transmission assets located between Einasleigh and Hughenden. These would facilitate the connection of clean energy projects in North and North West Queensland to the National Electricity Market (NEM); with view to securing additional energy supply and driving down costs for consumers

“If deemed feasible, this initiative will play a key role in diversifying North Queensland’s energy supply and potentially unlocking up to 2000 megawatts of renewable energy projects which would otherwise not be developed,” says Powerlink, which is conducting the EOI.

A feasibility study is due to be completed and submitted to Queensland’s Government for review by December this year.

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.


  1. Thank you for that.

    I have alerted my local Greens Party state MP to the report, and I have referenced it on my Clean Energy web page.

    The installation of domestic rooftop photovoltaic systems, on state housing accommodation, is a far better use of taxpayers’ money, than building new marinas that benefit only the ostentatiously rich.

    If only we would have responsible government in Western Australia.

  2. Ronald Brakels says

    If they are installing 6 megawatts on 4,000 homes that’s only a 1.5 kilowatt system on each. Installing larger systems should work out a lot cheaper per watt.

  3. Robyn Pogmore says

    The way things are looking,I reckon the Works will come to an end soon,and ,if I am the only person left,I would like to find out how I can switch my solar panels off the grid,and just use what’s coming in from the sun ,as it comes. Surely there’s a little switch I could flip to get myself on and off the grid as it suits me. How can this be made possible? Tell me what is wrong with the idea,please.

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