A trial in Queensland will see a total of three to six megawatts of solar panels installed on 2,000 to 4,000 government-owned detached houses and buildings.
Many public housing tenants across Australia could benefit from the electricity cost savings provided by solar, but are unable to take advantage of the technology.
Even with the issue of renting aside, a comparative few would able to install systems due to the up-front cost. While zero-dollar deposit payment plans are available through some solar providers, eligibility conditions would often exclude people in this group.
According to the Australian Institute of Health And Welfare, as at 30 June 2014 there were 393,844 households in social housing in Australia. The majority of these households were in public rental housing (317,000). It’s a huge number of households that solar electricity could help.
On Friday, the Queensland Government announced a trial that will see blocks to going solar for some of these households overcome. The trial will occur in Woodridge, Rockhampton, Cairns and Lockhart River.
One of three models will be used.
Solar installed on properties managed by the Woodridge Housing Service Centre will be provided under a solar PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) arrangement. For properties managed by the Cairns and Rockhampton Housing Service Centres, a solar lease model will be used.
In Lockhart River, solar power systems will be installed on government buildings; with the electricity exported to the grid. This will reduce the amount of diesel fuel used to generate power for the township, with public housing tenants expected to save around $100 per year on electricity costs.
The outcomes of the trial could extend beyond public housing tenants.
“Half a million properties in Queensland are rentals which has limited residential solar uptake up until now,” said Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni.
“As the state’s largest landlord, this trial presents an opportunity for the Queensland government to work through issues and develop a workable model for the private rental sector.”
The trial is initiative under the Palaszczuk Government’s target of one million solar rooftops or 3000 megawatts of installed generation capacity by 2020.
“It’s also part of the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to developing renewable energy across Queensland. We’re turning the Sunshine State into the Solar State,” stated Minister for Energy Mark Bailey.