QCOSS worked with the Queensland Government and Ergon Energy to trial a model of accessing solar power for people in public housing properties in regional Queensland. Trial participants received a solar PV system at no upfront cost, an affordable rate on their electricity, access to HomeSmart to help manage their electricity usage and some budgeting assistance with the provision of monthly electricity bills.
A Solar Power Purchasing Agreement (SPPA) that augmented tenants’ existing retail contract with Ergon Retail was provided. The SPPA consisted of all electricity generated from the panels charged at 19c/kWh with installation and ongoing maintenance costs to be covered by the retailer. The rate is locked in to enable a stable pricing system for participating households regardless of future pricing changes to tariffs.
This model provided an opportunity for those on lower incomes to access a solar PV system that they could pay off over the life of the panels, while accessing a lower energy rate. Central to the agreement was the collaboration of the Department of Housing and Public Works as the participating lessor and Ergon Energy as the owner of the systems. These components of the agreement laid the foundation to enable a large scale of tenants to participate in the trial.