Up to 2,300 households in Cairns and Rockhampton will be given the opportunity to take part in a solar on public housing trial and save money on their electricity bill.
Agriculture Minister and Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne said the first invitations to participate in the voluntary trial will be sent out in the next week and people living in eligible homes will be contacted over the coming weeks.
“The SunnySavers trial will give public housing tenants, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to install rooftop solar, the opportunity to benefit from the State’s uptake of renewable energy,” he said.
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said the initiative would allow for reduced electricity bills for vulnerable customers who cannot afford or don’t have access to solar PV systems.
“Queensland is known as the Sunshine State for good reason, and there are already many people in Rockhampton who own their home and enjoy the benefits of rooftop solar – now eligible public housing tenants will have this opportunity also,” Ms Lauga said.
Treasurer and Acting Minister for Energy Curtis Pitt said the trial was another way the Palaszczuk Government was helping households manage their energy costs.
“Participants in the trial will be offered solar PV, digital meters and the Ergon Energy HomeSmart online portal service to keep track of their solar savings, at no upfront cost,” Mr Pitt said.
“Depending on their usage, customers will be able to save up to $250 per year.
“This trial will also contribute to diversifying Queensland’s energy mix, including through our target of a million solar rooftops or 3000 megawatts of solar by 2020 commitment.
“We’re enabling Queensland’s most vulnerable to be part of the solar state.”
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the public housing solar trial would benefit customers and provide business opportunities and jobs in regional 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, “Mr de Brenni said.
“It is important that all Queenslanders should be able to benefit from renewable energy, and the SunnySaver trial is another way we are bringing renewable energy to all.”
The Queensland Government has partnered with Ergon Energy Retail to have solar panels installed on public housing and Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) is engaging with the local community and eligible households about the trial.
Queensland Council of Social Service Chief Executive Officer Mark Henley said now more than ever low income households need to be provided with the opportunity to save.
“Increasingly, we are seeing more and more low-income households being affected by rising electricity costs,” Mr Henley said.
“This innovative trial will relieve electricity costs for some of those who need it most.
“The QCOSS will also have people on the ground to help interested public housing tenants understand how they can participate.”
Ergon Energy Retail Executive General Manager Cheryl Hopkins said they are pleased to work with the Government and QCOSS to explore options to help vulnerable customers.
“Many consumers don’t have the opportunity to access solar themselves,” Ms Hopkins said.
“As part of this regional trial, Ergon Energy Retail is also working with local businesses, further supporting local communities.”
For more information on the SunnySavers solar on public housing trial visit www.qld.gov.au/solartrial