Sunny Savers is an exciting project that is trialling the installation of solar panels on public housing properties through close collaboration between QCOSS, Department of Energy and Water Supply, Department of Housing and Public Works, and Ergon Energy. The project aims to develop and implement a model that enables social housing tenants to access photovoltaic (PV) solar energy generation as a means of reducing the overall cost of their electricity bill. This trial is the first of its kind in Queensland and is exploring the possible ways that tenants can overcome the upfront barriers of solar installation while accessing the benefits of having a PV system on their homes. Eligible properties were selected based on their suitability for solar panel installation and location within the network. The current focus of the trial is on regional Queensland with two sites based in Cairns and Rockhampton, with a metro trial planned for Logan in early 2018.
In these locations, QCOSS has local teams of Tenant Engagement Officers that work to liaise, inform and empower eligible tenants. Our staff bring with them a wealth of experience across the community sector in supporting community members that may be experiencing disadvantage and poverty. Their role is to support tenants that wish to participate as an opportunity to reduce their electricity costs and access the opportunity to utilise renewable energy technology. QCOSS is working in partnership with the stakeholders to meet with tenants in their homes and at publicly-run information sessions. These interactions provide a further opportunity to discuss electricity use, energy efficiency, eligibility for rebates and concessions, and other support avenues. The team is well equipped to provide further information of pathways to access ongoing support. To date, the project has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from a vast majority of tenants at being included in this trial and in achieving a significant step towards mitigating increasing energy costs.